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Lawsuit Filed Over Proposed LA Clippers Arena

Los Angeles Clippers

In a new lawsuit, a coalition alleges that the City of Inglewood violated state laws when it offered publicly owned land for a proposed Los Angeles Clippers arena. 

The Uplift Inglewood Coalition is contending that the city failed to comply with the Surplus Land Act, a law stating that public bodies must grant first priority to affordable housing development when selling public land. In Inglewood’s case, it began discussions last year with the Clippers-controlled Murphy’s Bowl about a private development on city-owned land that would include a new arena and surrounding amenities.

As alleged by Uplift Inglewood, this action by the city is in violation of the Surplus Land Act because parties that could develop affordable housing on the site were never notified of its availability before arena discussions began. It is calling for a judge to void the existing agreement for the proposed arena, and force the city to come into compliance with the Surplus Land Act. More from the Los Angeles Daily News:

Uplift Inglewood Coalition, a group created in 2015 in response to rising housing costs, claims in its lawsuit that Inglewood did not notify housing developers and other agencies about the availability of the land now slated for a new Clippers arena. The Surplus Land Act requires a public agency to give first priority to affordable housing when selling public land.

“It is simply negligent on the part of our elected officials to prioritize the needs of a billionaire over the needs of the residents of Inglewood,” said Woodrow Curry III, a member of Uplift Inglewood.

The lawsuit also alleges the city violated other state laws by not adequately zoning for affordable housing and emergency shelters. It asks a judge to void the city’s agreement with the Clippers’ developer and to command Inglewood to comply with the Surplus Land Act.

According to the Daily News, Inglewood mayor James Butts wrote in a newsletter last year that the city is forbidden from allowing housing on the site because of an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration. However, representatives of the coalition claim that the city has failed to produce evidence of such an agreement.

The location under consideration in Inglewood is near both the Forum and an under-construction NFL stadium that will open in 2020 for the Rams and the Chargers. Earlier this year, Madison Square Garden Co.–owner of the Forum–sued the City of Inglewood and the Clippers-controlled company, contending that Butts knowingly deceived it into surrendering a lease on vacant city-owned land that is being considered for the Clippers arena project. Furthermore, the lawsuit contended that the proposal involving the Clippers violates MSG’s development agreement with the city.

The proposed Clippers arena would be located at the intersection of South Prairie Avenue and West Century. Discussions over the plan come as the Clippers approach the end of their lease for the Staples Center, which runs through 2024.

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