After protests, Inglewood City Council to vote on shrinking area for possible Clippers arena

Inglewood’s City Council will vote Tuesday on a revised deal with a Clippers-controlled company to shrink the four-block area where the team could build an arena so residences and a church aren’t displaced.

The reworked agreement, quietly added to the meeting’s agenda after it was first posted online Friday, follows protests by worried residents and at least two lawsuits related to the potential project.

The City Council approved the original deal with Murphy’s Bowl LLC during a special meeting in June, then greenlighted the deal again in July because of questions about whether proper notice was given for the first meeting. The agreement outlined a four-block area where the arena, practice facility, team headquarters and parking could be constructed — and broached the possibility of using eminent domain to acquire some of the property.

The impacted area is home to an estimated 2,000 to 4,000 people with a median income around $30,000, as well as the Inglewood Southside Christian Church.

The new agreement eliminates the possibility of removing single-family homes and apartment buildings and narrows the possible arena area to two blocks along West Century Avenue. They’re occupied by a variety of businesses, including the family-owned Rodeway Inn and Suites, a warehouse used by UPS, Church’s Chicken and an auto detailing shop. The deal also includes about six acres of city-owned land along West 102nd Street, butting up against the church and apartment buildings in addition to more city-owned land off South Prairie Avenue.

The agreement leaves open the possibility of acquiring property for the arena through eminent domain “provided such parcel of real property is not an occupied residence or church.”

Douglas Carstens, a Hermosa Beach land use attorney who sued Inglewood in July on behalf of the group Inglewood Residents Against Taking and Eviction, believes the move is a step in the right direction, but wants more action by the city.

"Even without displacing resident owners or a church, there could still be a significant disruption of long-established businesses and apartment dwellers, and the significant impacts to everyone of the large arena complex next door," Carstens wrote in an email.

The upcoming vote isn’t enough for nearby Forum, which has been vocal in its opposition to the arena plan.

“The City is all over the map, changing course with the shifting political winds,” a statement issued by a Forum spokesman said. “Yet the City remains committed to eminent domain to take over people's land for the benefit of a private arena. Plus, redrawing the boundaries now does not preclude the City from changing those boundaries back in the future.

“Until the city outright prohibits the use of eminent domain for a new Clippers arena, no owner of private property in the area is safe.”

Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. told The Times last week that he wouldn’t support any effort to use eminent domain on residences or the church.

The agenda item and new agreement don’t offer an explanation for why the residential areas were included in the original site map or explain what led to the change, other than it came “as a consequence of certain clarifications and proposed modifications … requested by the parties.”

The negotiating agreement between Inglewood and the Clippers-controlled company runs for 36 months.

Uplift Inglewood, a community group that’s protested the arena plan, claimed the vote as a victory, but said more action is needed.

“We want them to take eminent domain off the table, pledge not to use it at all and build affordable housing in the community so we can stay here,” a statement on behalf of the group said. “We want homes before arenas.”

nathan.fenno@latimes.com

Twitter: @nathanfenno

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UPDATES:

3:55 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from attorney Douglas Carstens.

6:28 p.m.: This article was updated with statements from the Forum and Uplift Inglewood.

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