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County Is Sued Over Approval of Church

Environmental groups allege S.B. County lacks environmental review for the forest project.

October 22, 2004|From a Times Staff Writer

Three prominent environmental groups have sued San Bernardino County, charging that the Board of Supervisors failed to require an adequate environmental impact review when it approved plans last month for a 12,868-square-foot church in Running Springs.

The board approved a plan Sept. 14 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to build a chapel, a cultural center, classrooms and offices on a wooded 7.7-acre parcel near Rim of the World Highway in Running Springs.

The Center for Biological Diversity, San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society and Save Our Forrest Assn. filed a lawsuit this week, alleging that the board should not have approved the project without a detailed environmental review to investigate the potential impact of the project on surrounding wildlife habitats.

The conservation groups say the project is in a major wildlife corridor that is home to rare species such as the southern Sierra sunflower, the San Bernardino flying squirrel, the southern rubber boa, and the California spotted owl.

A county report on the church project concluded that construction would not have a significant impact on the sensitive plants and protected wildlife in the area.

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