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State Board Grants Key Approval to Proposed LA Clippers Arena

New L.A. Clippers arena

After a delay, a state board has approved a proposed Los Angeles Clippers arena for a process that allows an expedited judicial review in the event of a lawsuit over environmental concerns.

Discussions have been ongoing for a few years about a proposed arena for the Clippers in Inglewood, which would be privately financed as part of a larger project named The Inglewood Basketball & Entertainment Center. Earlier in the planning process, California lawmakers approved legislation to make the Clippers arena plan eligible for an expedited judicial review process if it faces a legal challenge over environmental concerns. Then-governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law more than a year ago, but the California Air Resources Board (CARB) had to determine whether the project qualifies for the benefits set out by the legislation.

The process with CARB had run into some roadblocks, as the board received its first application from the Clippers in January but held off on granting approval amidst various concerns about the project. Last week, it granted its approval, coming to the conclusion that the project would not result in a net increase in greenhouse gases. California governor Gavin Newsom will have to sign off as well, but all indications have been that he will back CARB’s decision on the project. More from Daily Breeze:

“CARB staff conducted an evaluation of the GHG emission estimates and reduction measures submitted by the applicant, and confirmed that the applicant’s methodology, calculations and documentation are adequate,” wrote Richard Corey, CARB’s executive director, in a letter to the governor’s Office of Planning and Research.

Under the decision, any court case attempting to stop the arena will have to wrap up within 270 days.

Assembly Bill 987, a law passed specifically to move the Clippers project forward, required the Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center to be net neutral and reduce 50 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions through local measures.

The Clippers, owned by billionaire Steve Ballmer, will install 330 electric vehicle chargers at the arena, fund 1,000 residential chargers in the surrounding area, purchase two electric buses and 10 electric vehicles for Inglewood’s municipal fleet, and plant 1,000 trees as part of its agreement with CARB. The arena is expected to meet a Gold standard under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification program.

Thus far, the proposed arena has drawn strong opposition from Madison Square Garden Co.–owner of Inglewood’s Forum, a venue located less than a mile from the site targeted for the Clippers’ project. In addition to litigation, MSG has mounted a public opposition campaign against the proposal, including a Forum-launched website that alleges negative environmental implications from the project.

The Clippers are pitching a privately financed 18,500-seat arena in Inglewood that would be completed by the 2024-25 NBA season, following the conclusion of the team’s lease at downtown Los Angeles’s STAPLES Center. The venue would anchor a 26-acre project located on West Century Boulevard between South Prairie Avenue and South Yukon Avenue that would also include the team’s business and basketball offices, training facility, community and retail spaces. Detailed plans on the proposal, including renderings of the arena and surrounding area, were released in July.

Rendering courtesy L.A. Clippers.

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