AG Bonta criticizes San Bernardino development, again cites Elk Grove lawsuit in newsletter

In his newsletter released last weekend, California Attorney General Rob Bonta highlighted his concerns with a development in significant Inland Empire development.  

In a newsletter heading titled "Fighting against housing displacement," Bonta expresses concerns about air quality and the displacement of up to 2,600 people in the City of San Bernardino's Airport Gateway Specific Plan.

Bonta said he sent a comment letter identifying what he said were serious legal issues. Of most concern to Bonta was the displacement of "2,600 residents in a majority-Hispanic community that already suffers from extreme socioeconomic disadvantages and a shortage of affordable housing," and the project would "bring over 3,000 new heavy-duty diesel truck trips per day into the Highland and San Bernardino communities that already experience some of the worst air pollution in the state."

"Community and environmental groups have raised significant concerns about the proposed Airport Gateway Specific Plan, and they're absolutely right to do so," Bonta said. "My office has submitted a comment letter because this project, in its current form, would likely violate several California housing and environmental laws. While I support economic development, it must be done responsibly and fairly. It is deeply troubling that thousands of individuals would be displaced under the current Airport Gateway Specific Plan, and that there is no proposed relocation assistance for them."

The project seeks to streamline the future development of up to 9.2 million square feet of new warehouses just north of the San Bernardino Airport. Bonta said the project violates state law in three areas - The California Fair Employment and Housing Act, The Housing Crisis Act of 2019 (SB 330), and The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

And, as he often has in his weekly newsletters, Bonta highlighted the lawsuit against the cities of Huntington Beach and Elk Grove. Bonta noted he "is committed to enforcing California's housing laws that require the building of more housing and to protecting tenants"

Citing the lawsuit against Elk Grove, Bonta reiterated the lawsuit against Elk Grove, saying he and the governor are "challenging the city's denial of a proposed supportive housing project in the city's Old Town Special Planning Area."

Separately, in an indication of how serious of a threat Bonta's lawsuit is to the city, Elk Grove appears to have retained the counsel of a leading law firm. A recent filing show Best Best & Kreiger is now part of the legal team representing the city.

A leading law firm in many areas, including land planning and municipal law, the 130-year-old firm has 12 offices in three states and over 250 attorneys. 

As noted on the Leauge of California Cities website, BBK specializes in "protecting local control over the public right of way and advising on water rights, quality and supply issues to implementing affordable housing laws and providing code enforcement services, we handle the legal complexities so our clients can focus on providing superior service to their communities."

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D.J. Blutarsky said...

The Oak Rose and the Attorney General's lawsuits against Elk Grove ought to be the deciding factor in determining whether Hobbs keeps his job. You win, you're our legal hero and successfully upheld local land use control in the face of Big Brother. You lose, you embarrassed our city, squandered our tax dollars, and in the words of Donald Trump--You're Fired!

Randy Bekker said...

I get your point D.J. but if Bonta wins the real losers is the city ability for land planning and the citizens the city serves. Elk Grove’s case is much different than Huntington Beach. As we have alternative land opportunities with no restrictions. That we are willing to offer a different location within our city. Bonta is being a bully instead of being a mediator.

Renegade said...

Randy: While I appreciate your fervor and blind dedication to our city and it's leaders, it is not Rob Bonta's place to act as mediator in these types of situations. He's there to enforce the laws. Mediation can be done by Hobbs's hired litigators ($$$) and the attorneys representing the builder. Evidently, they have yet to work out a solution that's amenable to both parties.

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