Merced residents sue County and Riverside Motorsports Park
Merced County sued over approval of Riverside Motorsports Park
MERCED (Jan. 18) – Three local groups on Thursday filed a petition in Merced Superior Court against Merced County and the Riverside Motorsports Park (RMP).
San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center, Protect Our Water and Citizens for the Protection of Merced County Resources filed the petition under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) against the County’s approval of the final environmental impact report for the RMP project.
The petition asserts the County failed to follow proper CEQA procedures, violated CEQA and abused its discretion in a number of ways, some of which will be familiar to participants in hearings on the RMP project.
The citizen groups state that Merced County failed under provisions of CEQA:
To recirculate the RMP project final environmental impact report (EIR) for public review and comment;
To consider substantial evidence in the record to support its statement of overriding considerations in connection with the approval of the project;
By approving the RMP project final EIR despite the availability of feasible alternatives and alternative site configurations that would substantially lessen or avoid the project’s significant adverse impacts;
By improperly and too narrowly defining the project objectives to allow adequate treatment and consideration of the project alternatives;
To analyze the potential impacts of the project’s inconsistency with the Merced County Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan (ALUP) and further failure under CEQA to analyze the impacts of overriding the Merced County Airport Land Use Commission’s determination that the project is inconsistent with the ALUP;
To disclose, analyze, consider and mitigate the project’s significant impacts to water quality, biological resources, traffic and circulation.
The citizen groups also assert that Merced County abused its discretion by failing to consider written comments submitted during the Oct. 25, 2006 County of Merced Planning Commission hearing concerning consideration of the RMP project.
A spokesperson for the Citizens for the Protection of Merced County Resources said Thursday, “Merced County government failed its citizens with the approval of this project. The County sold out substantial economic, agricultural and environmental resources to outside special interests by approving RMP.”
“The supervisors violated numerous provisions of environmental and public-process law to railroad this project through,” said Lydia Miller, president of San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center. “Increasing numbers of Merced County residents realize that their local government has been fatally corrupted by special interests and that they will have to go to court to protect their natural and wildlife resources, water supply and quality and air quality, and their agricultural economy, for the common good. Otherwise, special interests will turn Merced County and the rest of the San Joaquin Valley into another San Fernando Valley.
“We are very confident in the strong petition submitted to the Merced Superior Court today by attorney Gregory Maxim, of the Roseville firm Sproul and Trost,” Miller added.
The petition and notice of intent is attached.
For further information contact:
Lydia Miller GREGORY L. MAXIM
San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center Attorney at Law
(209) 723-9283, ph. & fax Sproul and Trost LLP
(916) 783-6262 tel
San Joaquin Raptor Rescue Center
Protect Our Water
Citizens for the Protection of Merced County Resources