Critics may call it an unnecessary bureaucratic roadblock for business, while proponents say it’s a vital safeguard for the community. An economic impact report can be beastly, expensive and incredibly nuanced, but nevertheless it is the most comprehensive and scientific gauge the public has.
In the case of Walmart, such a report studying the potential impacts on everything from child care and traffic to sales tax revenues and existing businesses would be the best way to ensure everyone is walking into this with eyes wide open.
When Walmart opens in Burbank — and there appears to be little the public can do to stop it — it will be the most significant economic development for the city in decades. Thousands of vehicle trips a day will likely be pulled into an already busy, constrained part of the city, every day, every week, every year, for decades to come.
If that doesn’t warrant an economic impact report — whether legally required or not — we don’t know what does.