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Wal-Mart Says It Has Plans For A Dozen New Stores In San Diego

— Wal-Mart plans to build about a dozen new stores in San Diego over the next five years, especially if the city repeals an ordinance that requires big box stores to evaluate their effect on small businesses, the company announced today.

The announcement comes as the City Council is poised to repeal an ordinance passed in November that requires economic impact reports from developers of big box superstores, like Wal-Mart.

Maggie Sans, the company's vice president of public affairs, said no building sites have been identified, but "it is our intent to serve the city of San Diego across the city."

The proposed stores would range from smaller neighborhood markets of 30,000 square feet to superstores, Sans said.

It would be easier to fulfill the company's promises if the "Ordinance to Protect Small and Neighborhood Businesses" was not in effect, she said.

The law requires developers and big retailers, such as Wal-Mart, to submit costly economic impact studies before new stores can be built that are larger than 90,000 square feet and generate more than 10 percent of their revenue from groceries.

Mayor Jerry Sanders vetoed the ordinance, but it was overridden by the City Council.

Earlier this week, the city clerk determined that the measure's opponents gathered enough signatures to force a public vote on the issue.

The City Council now has to decide whether to rescind the law or call a special election, which would cost around $3 million.

Repeal became the likely result when council President Tony Young became the fifth council member to support rescinding the measure.

Young has repeatedly asked for a Wal-Mart in his southeast San Diego district, which only has two major grocery stores.

"The fact is, consumers are getting the short end of the stick in my district," Young said.

Sans said she would not guarantee that Wal-Mart would build in the area, which includes Encanto, Lincoln Park and Skyline, but the company is studying potential sites.

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