Massive Tejon Ranch Development Paused; Judge Cites Wildfire, Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In the works since 1999, the Centennial Project by Tejon Ranch Co. seemed to have cleared its final hurdle in 2018, but a Los Angeles County court ruling has created another hurdle for the sprawling development.

April 11, 2021, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Tejon Ranch

Chris English / Wikimedia Commons

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff rejected the environmental impact report (EIR) for the massive Centennial project planned for northern Los Angeles County, one of the most controversial and closely watched master planning developments in Southern California in recent memory.

Louis Sahagun reports on the latest twist in the long saga of the Centennial project, a proposal approved by the county of Los Angeles to allow Tejon Ranch Co. to build 19,300 homes on 6,700 acres on the border with Kern County to the north.

The county approved the EIR for the project in 2018, a decade after a historic agreement between the developer and environmental groups cleared the way for the developer to move forward free of resistance from most of the high-profile conservation organizations.

Since the approval of the EIR, the project has been frequently referenced in conversations about development in the state's wildland-urban interface as wildfires have worsened around the state in recent years. The court decision specifically cited wildfire risk, in addition to the greenhouse gas emissions caused by additional vehicle miles traveled as a result of the project, in its decision.

"Beckloff found that the environmental review failed to buttress its conclusion that the project would not significantly increase the risk of wildfire in a region prone to wildfires. Although the judge found the developer’s on-site analysis to be 'sufficient,' he found discussion of surrounding off-site impacts, such as wind-driven embers, to be 'problematic,'" explains Sahagun in more detail. "The judge also found that the developer mistakenly claimed that the cap-and-trade program would reduce 96% of its greenhouse gas emissions, which cause climate change."

Sahagun also reports that the developer isn't abandoning the project, stating after the ruling its intentions to work with the county to resolve remaining issues in the project proposal.

Thursday, April 8, 2021 in Los Angeles Times

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

Single-Family Housing Construction

New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives

The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.

May 16, 2022 - The White House

University of Arizona

Proposed Transit Line Would Connect Downtown Tucson to Airport

Based on community input for a 15-mile transit line, residents want to see a focus on affordable housing development and anti-displacement measures.

5 hours ago - KGUN

Shuttered strip mall in Niland, California

Strip Malls as a Housing Solution

The American strip mall may be a dying breed of commercial development, but could the buildings serve a new use as sustainable housing?

7 hours ago - Yale Environment 360

Complete Street Vancouver

Study: Most of Vancouver Is a ‘15-Minute City’

A large majority of Vancouver residents can access a grocery store in 15 minutes or less by bicycle or on foot.

May 20 - Vancouver Sun

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.