Moreno Valley seal

Foes tried to stop the developer and city from using initiatives to legally protect the project.

By Imran Ghori / Staff Writer
Published: Aug. 18, 2016 – Updated: 8:55 p.m.

A judge has denied a request by opponents of the World Logistics Center to block two initiatives aimed at shielding the 40.6 million-square-foot warehouse complex from legal challenges.

The ruling by Riverside County Superior Court Judge Sharon Waters, issued Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 17, came two weeks after a day-long hearing on the first round of lawsuits against Moreno Valley and warehouse developer Highland Fairview.

The request by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and a coalition of environmental groups was denied, court documents state. An official court order, which Waters has asked attorneys in the case to draft, will be formalized by the next hearing on Sept. 6.

“It’s good for the city and good for the developer and arguably good for the residents,” said Interim City Attorney Steve Quintanilla, who said he hadn’t seen the ruling as of Thursday morning.

Challenging the initiatives is one of one of two ways opponents are fighting the project. Planned for 2,610 acres at the eastern end of the city south of Highway 60, it would be the size of 700 football fields.

Nine groups sued after Moreno Valley approved the project in August 2015. They said the city and developer did not adequately address air pollution, traffic and other environmental consequences as required by the California Environmental Quality Act.

A few months later, the City Council adopted three developer-backed initiatives that project supporters say exempts the logistics center from the state environmental law.

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