Local Neighborhood Assns Sue the City of Pasadena over NFL use of Rose Bowl

4 Jan

On January 3rd, the Coalition for Preservation of the Arroyo, a newly–‐formed public  interest group, joined by the East Arroyo Neighborhood Protection Committee, the Linda-Vista Annandale Association, and the San Rafael Neighborhoods Association, sued  Pasadena in Los Angeles Superior Court on environmental grounds.  The case number is BS141038.

The lawsuit contends that Pasadena violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in amending its Municipal Code to allow expanded use of the historic Rose Bowl Stadium by the NFL while construction of a permanent NFL stadium is pending in Los Angeles. The City failed to comply with local and state laws in approving the five-year use of the Rose Bowl for up to 13 NFL games.

 The City acknowledges that significant environmental impacts to the sensitive habitat of the Arroyo Seco and its surrounding neighborhoods would attend the use of the Rose Bowl by the NFL, with substantial City-wide ripple effects. However, the environmental impact report (EIR) failed to consider the “whole of the action” when approving a Code amendment that forecasts commitment to an unstudied lease.

 The EIR failed to identify and the City failed to adopt performance-based, enforceable mitigations for: football in the Central Arroyo weekend after weekend and some weekdays for at least six months a year; double the current Rose Bowl traffic, air pollution, noise, trash, and neighborhood parking impacts, including on rainy days, and ongoing degradation of both the Arroyo neighborhoods and the Central Arroyo itself; 75,000 NFL fans per game plus an unknown number of ticketless tailgaters and other NFL fans in the Central Arroyo and in the Arroyo neighborhoods; NFL tailgating outside the Rose Bowl; public safety demands including enforcement of impacts of alcohol abuse; and loss of community-based recreation in the Central Arroyo for half of each year, including golf, kids’ soccer, swimming, and all recreational loop activities.

 The Court is asked to issue a peremptory writ in the public interest to enforce the many laws that protect the Arroyo Seco and the many laws and policies that protect the surrounding neighborhoods. Consideration of an amendment to the Municipal Code should await an actual NFL lease proposal, so that appropriate mitigation and alternatives can be considered as part of the project –- up front.

 Jonas Peters, Ph.D., Coalition representative and Chair of the East Arroyo Neighborhood Preservation Committee states: “The East Arroyo is a racially and socioeconomically diverse community that benefits enormously from its proximity to the Central Arroyo, including many recreational resources that the Rose Bowl and Brookside Park areas collectively provide. The negative impacts of the NFL project on the quality of life of the East Arroyo neighborhoods, ranging from serious nuisances that include excessive traffic, noise, trash, and crime, to serious health consequences that may result from increased cumulative air pollution and severe limits to weekend recreational access within our prized Central Arroyo parkland, are simply too much to ignore. The mitigations offered in the EIR by the City against the negative impacts were insufficient and in many regards insulted our intelligence and our collective community interest. The Committee views the proposed NFL five-year plan as a disaster to our neighborhood quality of life.”

 Nina Chomsky, Coalition representative and President of the Linda Vista-Annandale Association, states:  “The poor quality and minimal EIR underscores the City’s lack of commitment to protecting the Arroyo neighborhoods, including the Linda Vista-Annandale neighborhood, from the proposed NFL use of the Rose Bowl for five continuous years.  Similarly, the City has demonstrated no commitment to protect and preserve the Central Arroyo that is valued and used by thousands upon thousands of Pasadena residents for enjoyment of recreation and open space.  Destructive degradation of our neighborhoods and the Central Arroyo is insufficiently mitigated and not acceptable to cover Rose Bowl fiscal shortfalls, gaps, and overruns. The NFL EIR must identify and the City must adopt full and adequate protective mitigations FIRST.”

 Ron Paler, M.D., Coalition representative and President of the San Rafael Neighborhoods Association, states:  “The San Rafael Neighborhoods Association joins in this action due to its belief that the City of Pasadena prepared an inadequate and factually erroneous EIR that fails to adequately study impacts to the neighborhoods surrounding the Rose Bowl. For example, the EIR is flawed in the description of fire response times in West Pasadena that will be further impeded by up to 13 NFL major events at the Rose Bowl. This issue was neglected by the City. Additionally, the EIR fails to address the impact of major traffic congestion on major arterial streets such as Avenue 64 and West Colorado Boulevard. The Association seeks to protect the environment and people of Pasadena from significant and irreparable harm posed by this project.”


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