Developer Rick Caruso's plan to build a huge shopping mall next to the Santa Anita racetrack hit a road bump this week, as a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled that the project's environmental impact report must be revised before the plan can move forward.
In a 59-page ruling, Judge James C. Chalfant found 11 points of contention in the original environmental impact report, ranging from air quality to solid waste to traffic mitigation -- but he did not find the entire document inadequate. He directed the city to set aside its approval of the EIR and correct the deficiencies.
Caruso, who has also developed The Grove in Los Angeles and Americana at Brand in Glendale, plans upscale shops, outdoor restaurants and open space on the racetrack's southern parking lot. Promotional materials promised to "create an old-town center in the heart of Arcadia."
But the project would rise near the Santa Anita mall -- and that potential competition has been at the heart of much of the opposition to the project.
Arcadia First!, a neighborhood group funded by the Westfield Group, which owns the Santa Anita mall, has long fought the Caruso development, arguing about the additional traffic the project would bring to the area.
Soon after the Arcadia City Council approved the Caruso plan last year, Westfield filed a petition against Arcadia and its City Council, alleging that the EIR was flawed. It is that case on which Chalfant ruled this week.
Arcadia First! has also filed a challenge to the Caruso project.
Arcadia officials said Thursday they were still studying Chalfant's decision. But they said they expected the necessary changes could be made to the EIR, and when those had been certified by the Arcadia City Council, a supplemental EIR would be submitted to the judge