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Industry City Council approves EIR for NFL stadium project

The council voted 5-0 in favor of the report, despite objections from neighboring communities that have concerns about traffic. Opponents have until March 30 to file a lawsuit against the project.

March 01, 2009|Cara Mia DiMassa

The campaign to bring the NFL back to Southern California made a small but significant step forward over the last week, but officials admit they are still in the early stages of building an $800-million stadium in the city of Industry.

The Industry City Council voted 5 to 0 on Thursday to approve the stadium environmental impact report, despite objections from some neighboring communities.

John Semcken, a vice president of Majestic Realty, which wants to develop the stadium on 600 acres of land in Industry, said the clock has now started ticking on a 30-day waiting period required under state law.

If any neighboring city mounts a legal challenge to the plan, the project could be tied up in litigation for the foreseeable future.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday, March 08, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 National Desk 1 inches; 62 words Type of Material: Correction
City of Industry: A March 1 article in the California section said that the city of Industry's efforts to bring a National Football League team to town was part of a campaign to bring the NFL back to Southern California. Although there is no NFL team in Orange or Los Angeles counties, the Chargers have been playing in San Diego since 1961.

Officials in Diamond Bar and Walnut have said they have concerns about traffic and the effect that thousands of visitors to the stadium could have on their streets and quality of life. They would have until March 30 to file a lawsuit against the project.

But if the 30-day period passes without a suit, Semcken said, "we will immediately start talking to teams to relocate here."

Joaquin Lim, a Walnut councilman, said officials in his city had decided to wait until after the vote to make a decision about whether to mount a legal challenge to the project.

"We didn't want to jump to conclusions," he said.

Semcken said he was going to spend the next month trying to ease the cities' concerns by offering ways to mitigate traffic and air-quality effects in the hopes of avoiding litigation.

The move of a professional football team to an Industry stadium would require approval from the NFL, and Ed Roski, the chief executive of Majestic Realty, would most likely buy all or part of that team in order to get it to the city.

Since both the Raiders and the Rams left the region after the 1994 season, communities across the Southland have tried to rally support for NFL stadiums within their boundaries, to little avail. Anaheim and Carson considered but ultimately abandoned the idea of building stadiums. Pasadena's Rose Bowl and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum both were ultimately rejected as potential sites.

It remains to be seen whether the NFL would sanction moving a team to Industry. The city of Los Angeles continues to actively lobby for bringing a team to a stadium within its own boundaries.

Semcken said he hopes to be able to announce the procurement of a team by this time next year.

The team would move to the L.A. area immediately after the sale, he said, and would play in the Rose Bowl or the Coliseum for two years as the new stadium was built.

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cara.dimassa@latimes.com

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