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NFL stadium plan in Industry ignored large Asian community, suit says

March 26, 2009 | 11:24 am

Nfl The city of Walnut filed a lawsuit hoping to block a proposed NFL stadium in nearby Industry, arguing in part that the developer’s campaign failed to reach the city’s large Asian population.

Walnut is a predominantly Asian suburb about 30 miles east of downtown L.A., and city officials said in their lawsuit that many residents in the city don’t speak English. The suit claims that the city of Industry did not properly inform Walnut residents in their native language about the potential impact of the $800-million stadium.

“Although Industry knew that the stadium-entertainment complex would impact large Chinese-, Korean-, Tagalog- and Spanish-speaking populations in Walnut, it failed to provide notices for the project in any language other than English,” according to the suit.

Additionally, the suit claims that Industry failed to prepare an adequate environmental impact report on the stadium plan, which was presented by Majestic Realty, a company owned by billionaire Ed Roski.

“While the project proponent suggests economic growth in the region ... neighboring cities such as Walnut and Diamond Bar would realize significant traffic impacts, noise, air and light pollution, and other impacts that would jeopardize the health, safety and welfare of its residents,” according to a statement from Walnut.

A representative of the Walnut city manager’s office referred further questions to a lawyer representing the city in the lawsuit. She did not immediately return calls Thursday.

John Semcken, vice president of Majestic Realty, said he wasn’t surprised by the suit. “There’s nothing surprising about it other than for months, they have been saying their opposition to it, threatening to sue us. And not one time have they sat down with the developer and said we want to discuss mitigations for our city.”

Semcken, Roski, Majestic and two Industry business groups are also named in the suit.

Semcken vowed that the plan to bring an NFL team back to the Los Angeles area would move forward. “At the end of the day,” he said of the suit, “it’s a bump in the road.”

The NFL has yet to say if it supports the Industry plan.

-- Cara Mia DiMassa

Photo credit: City of Industry