World Logistics Center goes 'back to square one'
- A string of court decisions over the past months is forcing developers of the World Logistics Center, a 40-million-square-foot industrial center in Moreno Valley, California, to start over in its permitting process, according to various Press Enterprise reports.
- The California Court of Appeals voided the "development agreement," which initially authorized the project in August 2015, noting the adoption of such a permit via local initiative is procedurally inappropriate.
- In a separate case, the Riverside County Superior Court invalidated the developers' environmental impact report (EIR), preventing city officials from issuing land permits for the Center's 26 land partitions until a new EIR is issued. The project was slated to be partly finished by 2023, but that timeline is now in question.
The World Logistics Center — a development the size of 700 football fields located just two hours away from both the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — would be the nation's largest logistics development if built.
But the two court cases are a big loss for proponents of the massive logistics development. The ruling by the California Court of Appeals sets an important precedent for all future developments.
"What the court found in this case is that a development agreement is not something that can be adopted by initiative because, by definition, [it] is a contract between two parties," Rachel Hooper, the lead attorney representing the Sierra Club, a plaintiff, told Supply Chain Dive. "An initiative, by contrast, is a unilateral act."
The two rulings suggest the projects' developers were trying to skirt certain processes or regulations with the original documents. It does not spell doom for the project, but it will force the city council to revisit the endeavor in order to reach a new development agreement and draft an environmental review compliant with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
"They're back to square one," Hooper said. "They're going to have to comply to CEQA, do a new EIR and have this approved in the correct manner."
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