Temple City to File Lawsuit Against El Monte
Suit cites El Monte’s failure to adequately address environmental impacts associated with 71,000-square-foot cannabis facility.
TEMPLE CITY, CA (Jan. 16, 2019)—Last night, the Temple City City Council directed the city attorney to file a lawsuit against the City of El Monte over its approval of a 71,000-square-foot cannabis facility located at 4400 Temple City Blvd.
As stated in Temple City's letters to El Monte, dated Nov. 26, 2018, and Dec. 6, 2018, El Monte officials failed to fulfill their responsibility under the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, to fully analyze potential impacts of the then-proposed cannabis facility.
Temple City's lawsuit echoes concerns that El Monte's environmental review of the now-approved cannabis facility is both incomplete and woefully inadequate. As such, the document outlining the review prevents the public from providing meaningful feedback and understanding how the facility may affect their lives.
CEQA requires public agencies to thoroughly analyze the potential impacts a project may have on the environment. Agencies are also required to publicly disclose those impacts and identify measures that reduce or eliminate them—a legally required process El Monte officials failed to accomplish as part of the facility's approval.
As the cannabis facility is located across from Temple City neighborhoods and fully serviced by a segment of Temple City Boulevard within Temple City's jurisdiction, the lawsuit will primarily focus on project-related impacts associated with public safety services, traffic circulation, and the onsite storage and handling of hazardous materials.
These concerns are amplified in light of at least 10 more cannabis facilities in the immediate vicinity currently under consideration by El Monte. Two of the proposed facilities—both nearly adjacent to the approved one—are undergoing El Monte’s formal review process.
When multiple projects occur around the same time and in the same vicinity, CEQA requires that the environmental review for each project includes an analysis of the potential cumulative impacts that may result from all known proposed projects. El Monte officials were well aware of the multiple facilities proposed for the area yet neglected to conduct any analysis or even acknowledge potential cumulative impacts as part of its environmental review for the now-approved cannabis facility.
Despite these serious concerns raised by Temple City officials, the City of El Monte neglected to expand the facility’s environmental analysis and instead proceeded to approve an environmental document that fails to meet the requirements of CEQA. On the basis of an inadequate environmental review, the City of Temple City has no other alternative than to file a lawsuit against the City of El Monte.
When made available, lawsuit documents and updates will be posted to the city website at templecity.us.
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