A lawsuit seeking to block the Clippers‘ proposed new arena in Inglewood on the basis that the land should be used for affordable housing was denied today by Superior Court Judge Daniel Murphy, writes Jason Henry of The Pasadena Star News.
After hearing legal arguments yesterday, Murphy dismissed the suit filed by the Uplift Inglewood Coalition, a citizens group that was alleging an agreement with the NBA team violates California’s Surplus Land Act, which requires cities to make affordable housing a priority when selling publicly owned land.
City officials contend the land doesn’t qualify as surplus because the stated uses – economic development and aircraft noise mitigation – are permissible under the law. The city purchased properties on the land with a $120MM grant from the Federal Aviation Administration that discourages residential use.
“Under these circumstances, the City did not abuse its discretion in determining the Property remains ‘necessary for the agency’s use’ and is not surplus land,” Murphy wrote in his ruling.
The ruling takes away a significant obstacle for the proposed arena, which the Clippers hope to have ready for the fall of 2024. The project has been targeted by numerous lawsuits since it was announced, including one by the Madison Square Garden Co., which owns the Forum in Los Angeles.
“The people of Inglewood have time and again stood up for, testified for, and voted in favor of this project,” Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts said after today’s ruling was announced. “It would have been a travesty to allow a few malcontents to sabotage so much prosperity for this community.”