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Downtown stadium: Time limit on legal challenges being drafted

September 1, 2011 |  5:28 pm

Image: A rendering of the proposed stadium.  Credit: AEG Digital Group Environmental lawsuits against a proposed NFL stadium in downtown Los Angeles would be required to go directly to the Court of Appeal and be decided within 150 to 175 days under proposals for state legislation being drafted by the project developers and lawmakers, those familiar with the talks said.

In exchange for protection from protracted legal challenges, including bypassing the Superior Court, the Anschutz Entertainment Group  (AEG) would complete a full environmental review of the $1.2-billion project and would guarantee fewer cars per football game ticket-holders than any stadium in the country. In addition, the 72,000-seat stadium would be “carbon neutral.”

AEG would like the legislation to require any environmental lawsuit to be decided by the state Court of Appeal within 150 days.

However, state Assembly members are arguing that the time limit should be at least 175 days from the time an environmental impact report (EIR) is completed, with that decision appealable to the state Supreme Court.

An environmental leader who was briefed by AEG officials said he might support the measure with the longer time limit and other concessions.

“The idea of direct jurisdiction in the Court of Appeal is far from ideal but I think we can live with it if we get something back in terms of mitigation over and above what the EIR is going to call for,’’ said  David Pettit, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

A period of 150 days  “is very unrealistic,” Pettit added. “I just don’t think you can get all the briefing done and have the court have oral argument in 150 days. This is going to be a 10,000-page record.’’ He said 175 days is “in the ballpark'' for what might work.

Legislative officials said they hope to have a final draft of the legislation completed tonight or early Friday.


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Image: A rendering of the proposed stadium.  Credit: AEG Digital Group