Mar 10 2012

Blair Park Project Lawsuit On Hold for 60 Days

No Permits, Approvals or Administrative Work Allowed Until May –

Friends of Moraga Canyon (FOMC), the Piedmont Recreational Facilities Organization, Blair Park LLC, and the City of Piedmont, have agreed to a 60-day delay in proceeding with FOMC’s challenge of the adequacy of environmental impact report for the Moraga Canyon Sports Field project in Piedmont’s Blair Park.  The 60-day stay was entered by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo on  March 6, 2012.

During the 60-day period, which extends until May 7, 2012, the project’s main proponent, Piedmont Recreation Facilities Organization (PRFO), cannot seek any new permits or approvals required for the project, and the City cannot carry out any administrative work on the project.

According to Jim Semitekol, President of the non-profit FOMC, “We have agreed to this delay in the hope that PRFO and the City will take the time to review the project and realize that our case against it is sound, that this project is inappropriate for this site, and that their funds would be better spent on finding alternative sites for a sports field rather than pursuing a costly lawsuit.”

The FOMC lawsuit contends that the Blair Park project’s environmental impact report, approved by the Piedmont City Council in December 2011, is inadequate and flawed.  The lawsuit argues, “This sports complex went through multiple revisions and amendments as the proponents struggled to satisfy the conflicting demands and needs of the project’s proponents, the state’s environmental laws, the City’s fiscal limitations, and the public at large.  These changes continued… right up until the late hours of the hearing at which it was finally approved.”  The suit asserts that the project was significantly changed in 13 major ways after the EIR was certified, and that PRFO and the City should have prepared a supplemental EIR instead of the simple addendum that the Piedmont City Council approved.  Further, the suit contends that the City should not have approved the Project because it violates 16 of Piedmont’s General Plan policies.

A separate lawsuit also may be filed by the City of  Oakland against Piedmont over the project.  To date, the two cities have agreed to extend the lawsuit filing deadline until March 26, 2012, while they attempt to work out a mutually satisfactory solution to Oakland’s objections, primarily to traffic and environmental problems the project is likely to cause.  The Alameda County chapter of the Sierra Club recently sent a letter to the Oakland City Council urging the City to pursue the lawsuit against Piedmont.

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