Los Angeles attorney representing "Keep Taft Great" raises legal questions

City approval of a new discount grocery store was placed on hold Wednesday after last minute objections to the project were raised.

A day after the Taft City Council approved the sale of a land on Supply Row just east of the new Dollar General, the Taft Planning Commission continued a public hearing and discussion of the site plan for a new Grocery Outlet store.

The prosed store will cover 18,000 square feet on a 3.13 acre parcel that includes a 4,214 square foot retail pad in the rear. It is on the south side of Supply row 200 feet east of Tenth Street.

One of the objections came from a Los Angeles attorney representing a group he called "Keep Taft Great, an unincorporated association of concerned citizens" and the other came from a Bakersfield man.

A Taft resident, Tyson Harlan, who lives on the 700 block of Front Street, said he didn't object to the project itself but was concerned about additional traffic and parking on his street from the second business to locate there.

Both the attorney, Tal Finney from the Los Angeles firm of Finney Arnold LLP, and the Bakersfield man, who identified himself as James Kell, raised a long list of objections to the development.

Kell said the proposed store will create "health and safety hazards" with trash, waste, increased traffic and noise.

Finney, who city officials said also wrote a letter protesting the project, said he questioned the legality of moving forward with the project without further environmental studies and said the city should have approved the site plan prior to the sale of the land instead of after it.
After the testimony, the Planning Commission tabled the public hearing to a future meeting to allow city staff to look into the objections.