Moreno Valley seal

The focus of the legal challenges, for now, is on three initiatives that the City Council adopted.

By Imran Ghori / Staff WRiter
Published:  June 17, 2016
Updated:    June 18, 2016 – 6:30 a.m.

A legal battle over the World Logistics Center will continue through at least the summer as opponents and Moreno Valley square off over whether the city violated state law in approving three developer-backed initiatives.

A Riverside County judge is scheduled to hear arguments in the case Aug. 3. A hearing that had been scheduled for Friday, June 17, was canceled.

Moreno Valley and developer Highland Fairview face a dozen lawsuits over the City Council’s approval last August of the 40.6 million-square-foot project that would transform the city’s eastern side south of Highway 60.

Plaintiffs including Riverside County, the Riverside County Transportation Commission, the South Coast Air Quality Management District and a coalition of environmental groups say the project would increase traffic and air pollution and that the environmental analysis did not meet state law.

A second round of lawsuits accused the developer and city of trying to circumvent state environmental law – and the legal challenges – when the council repealed its prior approval and adopted initiatives with nearly identical language three months later.

In doing so, the city and developer are relying on a 2014 state Supreme Court ruling that found that voter-approved development initiatives are generally exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act. The case also allows legislative bodies to adopt them without actually taking them to voters, as was done in Moreno Valley.

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