In their rush to break ground on a sports arena before Santa Ana does, Anaheim officials have underestimated the effects of their project on a mobile-home park next to the arena site, the park’s owner says in a report to the Planning Commission.
“The city has already determined that it wants the arena, that it views the (environmental review) process as an impediment to constructing the arena, and that the city perceives that unless construction is commenced on the project before the city of Santa Ana . . . Anaheim’s arena project will be dead,” Jack Stanaland, president of park owner Campanula Properties, said in the 67-page report.
Stanaland was responding to the city’s environmental impact report that said the $85-million, 20,000-seat arena would have a minimal effect on the surrounding area, except for Orangetree Mobile Home Park on Douglass Road. In the report, the city acknowledged the arena would cause noise and traffic problems for park residents but proposed ways in which the problems could be reduced.
About 400 people live in the 20-acre park, which is next to the Phoenix Club on Douglass Road. The city bought the club for $8 million in October and plans to demolish the building to make way for the arena, which is planned for 17 acres northeast of Anaheim Stadium.
Park residents also plan to file individual responses to the environmental impact report this week.
Anaheim officials were not available for comment Tuesday.
Stanaland claims that it would be illegal for the Planning Commission and City Council to approve the environmental impact report because it contains inaccurate and misleading information.
Stanaland’s major concerns are:
* Parking: Douglass Road already is packed with overflow parking from the Phoenix Club and Anaheim Stadium on days when events are held. The city’s report addresses the traffic resulting from Los Angeles Rams football games, but not California Angels baseball games, Stanaland said.
* Traffic: The city took two to three weeks to compile a report on the traffic the arena would generate, and Stanaland contends that a more thorough assessment is needed. Furthermore, he said, the city has failed to address the impact upon already congested freeway interchanges in the area.
* Conflict of interest: The city is serving as both the applicant seeking approval for the arena and the lead agency with the power to approve all arena matters.
“This is, quite simply, a case of the fox watching the hen house,” Stanaland said in his report.
These problems can be attributed to the city’s “misplaced and destructive sense of urgency” resulting from the race with Santa Ana to see which city can build an arena first. For example, Stanaland notes, the entire process for an environmental impact report usually takes the city about nine months but is being completed in about three months.
Santa Ana officials have criticized Anaheim for proceeding too rapidly with the environmental impact report and providing an unrealistic opening date for the arena. Anaheim says it will break ground in January and open the arena by October, 1991. According to the environmental impact report on the Santa Ana arena, that project will not open until autumn of 1992.
The environmental impact report and accompanying responses will be considered Dec. 13 by the Planning Commission and Dec. 15 by the City Council. The report must be approved before work can begin on the project.
Stanaland maintains that there is no way to reduce the problems the arena will cause for Orangetree park residents, and he wants the city to acknowledge that. He said that if the city approves the environmental impact report without any changes, he may file a lawsuit that could block the project.
A better solution, Stanaland said, would be for the city to relocate the mobile-home park elsewhere in Anaheim, as was done for the Phoenix Club. He said he is not interested in being bought out by the city, although city officials have not offered to purchase or relocate the park.
“I wouldn’t be real happy” about being condemned, he said. “It’s a business I and my family have been in for 20 years.”