TriCounty Watchdogs Join Suit

By Patric Hedlund

The expected challenge to Kern County’s certification of the Environmental Impact Report submitted for Tejon Mountain Village was filed in Kern County Superior Court on November 12. Kern County, the board of supervisors, Tejon Ranch, Tejon Mountain Village, LLC and 30 unnamed “Does” are being opposed by the Center of Biological Diversity. The local TriCounty Watchdogs group, who submitted a 100 page rebuttal of the Draft EIR have joined the suit, along with the Wishtoyo Foundation, concerned about traditional Chumash tribal burial sites within the development area. The Center on Race, Poverty, & the Environment also joined the challenge. The Kern County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to give the development a green light after a day long hearing on October 5, 2009.

The challenge names water supply, damage to the endangered California condor critical habitat, air quality, traffic and a flawed public review process in their complaint, in a critique of the size, location and impacts of the 26,417 acre development in Lebec. The plan calls for 3,450 homes, 750 hotel rooms, two golf courses, two heliports and 160,000 square feet of commercial space, with double that designated as “support” area.

Tejon Mountain Village spokesperson David Crowder said Saturday, Nov. 14 that the LLC could not comment on the suit but were “disappointed” that the groups have chosen to litigate. “We believe that the historic Conservation and Land Use Agreement with the nation’s leading resource groups, which preserves up to 90% of Tejon Ranch…was a much better outcome for conservation than could have been achieved through litigation,” he wrote.

This is part of the November 20, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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