If a challenge to a proposed Main Street Wal-Mart turns into a lawsuit, it could take up to two years before builders break ground and begin construction, according to an attorney for the city of Hesperia.


On February 9, Upland-based attorney Cory J. Briggs filed an appeal of the Hesperia Planning Commission's January 29 approval of the planned Main Street Marketplace on the southeast corner of Main Street and Escondido Avenue, which will include a Home Depot and be anchored by a Wal-Mart Supercenter.


Upland-based attorney


As he has in other cities, Briggs alleges the planning commission violated the terms of the California Environmental Quality Act.


The Hesperia City Council is scheduled to consider his appeal at their March 3 meeting. If Briggs loses the appeal, and files a lawsuit, it could mean years of delays.


"With respect to the Wal-Mart project and potential challenges, generally a challenger has 30 days after the City Council certifies the [environmental impact report] to file a lawsuit," said Eric L. Dunn, who serves as the city's attorney, in an e-mail sent Wednesday.


The suit won't be considered by the trial court for five to seven months after filing, Dunn said, and a decision won't be rendered for up to a month after that. And then the party that loses at the trial stage can appeal.


"Depending on a variety of factors including the court's calendar, it can be a year or even two years before the appellate court issues an opinion," Dunn said.


Ontario delay


But even if Briggs eventually loses, a suit can delay a store's opening. Construction was to begin on an Ontario Wal-Mart Supercenter in March, until a group represented by Briggs appealed that city's analysis of the store's potential impact. A Wal-Mart official told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin that construction on the store would not go forward until the legal issue is resolved.


Briggs' lawsuit against Barstow, over a proposed Wal-Mart in that city, does not seek financial damages, nor actively seek to block that project, but instead asks the city to mitigate the air and water quality and traffic impacts caused by the store.


Briggs will not discuss the appeal of the Hesperia planning commission's January 29 ruling until after the hearing, according to a representative.


The next meeting of the Hesperia City Council takes place on Tuesday, March 3 at Hesperia City Hall, located at 9700 Seventh Avenue, at 6:30 p.m.


If Briggs loses the appeal, he will have until April 3 to file a lawsuit.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.