Forced into negotiations by the state Legislature, the City of Walnut has dropped its lawsuit contesting the adequacy of an environmental impact report for a proposed professional football stadium and 3 million-square-foot entertainment complex in the neighboring City of Industry.
Representatives of the two cities and developer Majestic Realty signed the agreement two weeks after state lawmakers tabled a bill that would have exempted the stadium and entertainment complex from having to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act and state planning and zoning laws. The measure would also have barred any legal challenges (see CP&DR, September 15, 2009
Faced with the possibility that state legislation could wipe out its lawsuit, the Walnut City Council voted 3-1 to approve a settlement that is similar to an agreement the City of Diamond Bar signed with Industry and Majestic Realty earlier this year regarding the project (see CP&DR In Brief, May 2009
In exchange for Walnut withdrawing its suit, Majestic agreed to do a number of things. It will pay the city $9 million for traffic mitigation, upgrade one of Walnut's intersections, and pay a fair share for traffic improvements elsewhere in town. The developer promised to pay from $350,000 to $500,000 annually, depending on the number of stadium events, into a "community fund" that Walnut may spend in any way. It will pick up Walnut's legal and consulting expenses. And Majestic and Industry agreed to work toward securing MetroLink train service to the project's site and to prevent stadium noise from reaching Walnut's residential neighborhoods. Multi-jurisdictional committees, composed of public representatives, were established to address transportation management and public safety.
In an open letter to Walnut residents, city special counsel Jan Chatten-Brown said the agreement was the best the city could do under the circumstances. "It is extremely disappointing that so many members of the Legislature are willing to waive compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act and state planning laws in order to further the project," she wrote.
Meanwhile, Industry Mayor David Perez commented, "It has always been our interest to address issues of concern as they relate to our neighboring cities."
Industry and Majestic continue to negotiate with a citizens group that has also filed a lawsuit to block the project.