Updated 4/26: Ah, wasn't everything just floating along so smoothly lately for the Downtown NFL stadium plan? Developer AEG recently released thousands of pages of environmental report documents for its proposed Farmers Field, as required by the California Environmental Quality Act, which showed plans to encourage transit use and improve the Pico Metro station. Of course, those transit-happy plans were more or less mandated by the state legislature, which passed a bill last year requiring the swift resolution of any CEQA-based legal challenges to the project, in exchange for AEG promising to build a relatively environmentally friendly stadium (compared to other NFL stadiums). The idea was so beloved, apparently, that the legislature also passed a companion bill called AB900 that would apply the same standards to many large (more than $100 million), relatively environmentally friendly projects--under the bill, legal challenges based on CEQA could go right to the state appeals court and a ruling would have to be handed down in no more than 175 days. Well, now here comes the lawsuit: the Planning and Conservation League filed suit yesterday saying AB900 "violated the separation of powers between the Legislature and the courts," according to the AP. We're no legal experts, but if AB900 is struck down, we're guessing the AEG fast-track would take a hit too. And since we already know that pretty much any big development plan will attract at least one lawsuit, things could get a little sticky for the NFL stadium plans. Update: A rep for AEG tells us that they don't believe the bill for their fast-track will be challenged, even if AB900 is struck down. Here's their statement:
"The lawsuit filed on Monday is a response to AB900 and therefore does not address or challenge the development of the downtown Los Angeles stadium and Event Center or the associated (recently filed) draft Environmental Impact Report. The approval process of DEIR associated with the stadium is governed by SB292, a far more specific and narrowly defined process which guarantees that the project will be the most sustainable of its kind, having gone through the most thorough and comprehensive review process."
· Environmental group challenges Calif stadium bill [AP]
· NFL Stadium Might Not Be Only Project Getting CEQA Workaround [Curbed LA]