Monday, June 1, 2015
C.A. Says EIR for NFL-to-Rose Bowl Plan Was Adequate
By a MetNews Staff Writer
An environmental impact report favoring a plan to allow a National Football League team to play in Pasadena’s Rose Bowl stadium while waiting for a permanent home to be constructed elsewhere complies with the California Environmental Quality Act, this district’s Court of Appeal has ruled.
Justice Patti S. Kitching, in an unpublished opinion Thursday for Div. Three, said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Allan Goodman was correct in denying a petition by the Coalition for the Preservation of the Arroyo, which challenged the city’s adoption of the EIR.
“We affirm because the EIR was timely, the EIR adequately addressed the environmental impacts pursuant to CEQA, and the City’s factual determinations were supported by substantial evidence,” the jurist wrote.
Under the plan, an NFL team would be invited to play in the 1922 stadium for up to five years. To facilitate the plan, the city amended an ordinance limiting the number of major events that can take place at the stadium—host to the UCLA football team, the annual football classic nicknamed “The Granddaddy of Them All,” and large concerts, and in the past to World Cup and Olympic soccer—in a given year.
The NFL has yet to determine which team or teams, if any, would occupy the Los Angeles market left vacant when the Rams and Raiders moved to St. Louis and Oakland, respectively, or where they would play.
It was recently announced that the City of Carson is working with the San Diego Chargers—who originated in Los Angeles—and the Raiders—who originated in Oakland, moved to Los Angeles, then moved back—on a plan to have the two teams share a state-of-the-art facility that would be built in that city.
The coalition argued that the EIR was premature because the city has yet to negotiate a lease for a team, and that its conclusion that the economic benefits outweighed the significant environmental impacts, was flawed.
Kitching, however, said it was a practical necessity for the city to complete the EIR prior to any lease negotiations, and that the city had sufficient information about what a lease agreement would likely contain—including provisions for up to 13 games to played each year for up to five years, with revenues of $5 million to $10 million per year based on an estimate by a consultant—to proceed.
The justice went on to say that the city adequately supported its findings that the economic benefits would outweigh the environmental impacts, rejecting the coalition’s arguments that the benefits were speculative. The consultant, Barrett Sports Group, LLC, she noted, is “nationally recognized” in its field and has worked on more than 1,000 projects, representing cities, teams, and other clients, and provided “ample data” from other interim NFL leases to support its conclusions.
There was, Kitching added, no evidence that the city had understated the impacts on historical resources, aesthetics, recreational uses of the area, air quality, or public services.
The city was represented on appeal by attorneys from its City Attorney’s Office and by its outside counsel, Richards, Watson, & Gershon. The coalition was represented by Brandt-Hawley Law Group.
The case is Coalition for Preservation of the Arroyo, B255824.
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