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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Judge rejects environmental report for Tejon Ranch’s Grapevine project

The blow comes days before Board of Supervisors will review Centennial
By Natalie Hoberman | December 10, 2018 03:00PM

Tejon Ranch executive Greg Bielli and a grapevine development

Environmentalists won another reprieve in their long-running effort to derail a sprawling new housing development north of Los Angeles County.

Late last week, Kern County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Twisselman rejected the project’s environmental impact report and ruled that Kern County must rescind its approvals for the 8,000-acre Grapevine Development proposed by Tejon Ranch.

The judge said the county and Tejon Ranch needed to provide further analysis about the traffic impacts of the master-planned community. Once that is complete, the Kern County Board of Supervisors will need to recertify the project’s Environmental Impact Report.

The ruling comes five months after the court said the county failed to analyze the full environmental impact of the project.

Kern County’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the mixed-use development in 2016. Tejon Ranch, the small publicly traded developer behind the project, and several others, received entitlements for 12,000 residential units, and about 5.1 million square feet of commercial development.

About a month later, the Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Food Safety brought their complaint against the project in Kern County Superior Court, citing issues with the environmental report.

The court decided in July that Kern County was in violation for failing to analyze the full scope of the air quality and public health concerns related to the project. At the time, it did not determine whether the county had to revoke project approvals.

On Dec. 7, Judge Twisselman ruled against the environmental groups on six other issues.

A spokesperson for Tejon Ranch said the firm “looks forward to satisfying the judge’s order and moving the plan forward.”

Last week’s ruling comes just days before the L.A. County Board of Supervisors gathers to review another one of Tejon’s master-planned communities, Centennial. On Tuesday, the board will meet to review the highly contentious project, which has been in the pipeline for more than two decades.

If approved, the project would bring nearly 20,000 units of housing and 10 million square feet of commercial space to an undeveloped area about 60 miles north of L.A city.