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Governor Grants Proposed LA Clippers Arena Fast-Track Approval

New L.A. Clippers arena

California governor Gavin Newsom has helped push a proposed LA Clippers arena project forward, certifying it for a process that allows an expedited judicial review in the event of a lawsuit over environmental concerns.

The Clippers are seeking to construct a new arena in Inglewood, with the privately financed venue to anchor the larger The Inglewood Basketball & Entertainment Center. Earlier in the planning process, California lawmakers approved legislation to make the plan eligible for an expedited judicial review process if it faces a legal challenge over environmental concerns. Under those terms, any lawsuits and appeals over the development’s environmental impact would have to be resolved in a nine-month window. 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.

After a delay, CARB recently approved the project for the process, determining it would be would be net carbon neutral. Newsom certified it on Friday, marking another step forward for the proposal. More from the Los Angeles Times:

The state’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee has 30 days to approve Newsom’s certification. If that happens, the environmental impact report will be released.

“Receiving the state’s certification is just more evidence that this project will be by far one of the most environmentally friendly and energy efficient sports venues in the country,” said Chris Meany, the developer and project manager for the arena.

The complex would be centered on a sail-shaped arena that seats 18,000 people near the intersection of West Century Boulevard and South Prairie Avenue in addition to a practice facility, sports medicine clinic, team offices, retail space and a hotel.

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 franchise’s hope is to begin construction by July 2021, though it remains to be seen if it can achieve that goal.

As currently envisioned, 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.

ADDENDUM: Here’s a full statement from Madison Square Garden Company, owners of the nearby Forum, which opposes the Clippers arena:

The fact that it took almost an entire year and six submissions to the State before this action is clear evidence the Clippers arena plan is deeply flawed. Many more steps in the review process remain for this proposal, which has been publicly opposed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Climate Resolve, Public Counsel, and scores of community leaders and residents. We will continue to stand up for Inglewood residents, hold the Clippers accountable for their empty promises, and fight to protect the community from this harmful proposal. 

The truth remains that the arena would overwhelm Inglewood with 4 million more cars per year and thousands of tons of harmful air pollution. Contrary to the Clippers’ claims, offering meaningless solutions like the distribution of 1,000 electric vehicle chargers will do virtually nothing to reduce the resulting harmful health impacts.

Rendering courtesy L.A. Clippers.

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