Angels challenge Anaheim on proposed development next to Angel Stadium
The Angels demanded Wednesday that the city of Anaheim order additional study of a large-scale development planned for a site adjacent to Angel Stadium.
The demand, contained in the second hostile letter from Angels lawyers to the city within two weeks, comes as the team and city have revived talks on a lease that would extend the Angels’ tenure at the city-owned stadium.
Last week, the Anaheim Planning Commission, over the Angels’ objections, unanimously endorsed a 15-acre complex of shops, restaurants, offices, residences and a hotel on the site next to Angel Stadium.
The Anaheim City Council has final say on the project and could vote to approve it as soon as Sept. 27. In the letter, Angels attorney George Mihlsten said the planning commission approved the project with “very limited environmental review and no opportunity for public review,” and he asked the council to order a new environmental impact report.
Angels spokeswoman Marie Garvey declined to rule out the possibility that the team would sue Anaheim if the City Council does not do so.
“We are not limiting any of our options but hope the City Council will require an EIR,” Garvey said.
A new environmental impact report could require months or years to complete, and could significantly add to the costs for a developer that has promised the city at least $5 million per year in tax revenue from the project.
City officials do not believe a new environmental assessment is necessary because the effects of larger projects — ones that did not come to fruition — in the so-called Platinum Triangle area have already been evaluated.
“From an environmental perspective, the Platinum Triangle has been thoroughly studied for a level of development well beyond what is being proposed with this project,” city spokesman Mike Lyster said in a statement.
“That said, we want to hear any concerns that the Angels have.”
The city has ruled out paying for stadium upgrades. The lease negotiations have focused on the team developing part of the parking lot, then using profits from that development to recoup the costs of stadium renovations.
The Angels argued that an entertainment district next to the stadium — along the lines of L.A. Live, across the street from Staples Center — would make it less likely that a second such project could be profitable enough for the team to fund stadium renovations. The Planning Commission rejected that argument and recommended approval by the City Council.
“This is about an individual project, distinct from discussions about the future of baseball in Anaheim,” Lyster said. “For 50 years, we have had a great relationship with the Angels. As with any long-term relationship, issues will come up from time to time.”
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