Las Lomas project may be ‘finally dead’

Oldham is a Times staff writer.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has declined to order the city to reopen its environmental review of a controversial 5,553-home development proposed for steep hillsides near where the 5 and the 14 freeways intersect.

Judge David P. Yaffe ruled Friday that state law doesn’t require the City Council to finish preparing environmental studies before considering the proposal by developer Dan Palmer to build a mixed-use community known as Las Lomas.

The council voted 10 to 5 in March to instruct the Planning Department to stop processing the application to build the project, which would have included more than 2 million square feet of commercial space.


Palmer sued the city last summer, contending that the decision violated state law and the developer’s constitutional right to due process.

The complaint asked the court to order the city to finish complex environmental studies and to award it $100 million in damages.

Council members feared that the development -- under which Palmer proposed that Los Angeles annex the 555-acre parcel so he could access the city’s water supply -- would tax already overburdened services and further snarl traffic.

Yaffe’s ruling led City Councilman Greig Smith, who headed an effort to dismiss the city’s review of the project, to declare that “after six years of fighting this ill-conceived project, it appears to be finally dead.”

Attorneys for Palmer and Las Lomas Land Co. said they are considering an appeal.