By Ben Baeder
Over objections from attorneys representing Walnut and Diamond Bar and about 20 angry residents, the Industry City Council on Thursday unanimously approved an environmental report clearing the way for a professional football stadium.
About 60 people squeezed into the standing-room-only City Council chamber before the decision. The room was peppered with people holding “No Stadium” signs. After the vote, Industry Mayor Dave Perez said he still thought the project was good for Industry and the region.
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“What impressed me most was those two young people who talked about how this area needed jobs,” he said of two speakers in favor of approving the report.
But about a dozen Walnut residents spoke against approving the supplemental environmental impact report (SEIR) and said they would not rest until the stadium idea was scrapped.
“Deny this final (environmental report) and shut this project down,” Walnut resident Lawrence Reinhold said. “We want Walnut to file a lawsuit.
“We the people are on the move. We the people will defeat this project.”
Walnut residents said they collected signatures from about 8,000 San Gabriel residents who oppose the project.
Industry in October published a supplemental environmental impact report to account for the effects of a National Football League stadium and entertainment complex proposed for about 600 acres on the east side of the city. After circulating the supplement for 40 days, the council officially approved the report Thursday.
Billionaire developer Ed Roski Jr. said last spring he wants to build a 75,000-seat stadium and a retail center near the 57/60 freeway interchange.
Roski is part owner of the Kings, Staples Center, L.A. Live and Lakers. He said he hopes to buy part of an NFL team and move it the area by the 2010, according to officials from Roski’s Majestic Realty Co. The team would play in the Rose Bowl or Coliseum for a few years while the Industry stadium was built.
Roski originally planned a warehouse park and commercial center for the site.
The report approved Thursday was a supplement to the EIR for the warehouse plan, which passed in 2004.
Walnut special attorney Jan Chatten-Brown said the change from a warehouse-and-commercial center to a football stadium/entertainment complex was “dramatically different.”
“These are not minor technical changes,” she said in calling for a new report.
An attorney for Diamond Bar said Industry did not seriously take requests from Diamond Bar to address several issues with traffic and public safety.
“This project is simply unacceptable to Diamond Bar in its current form,” attorney Jack Rubens said.
Neither attorney said whether officials in their respective client cities planned to sue Industry.
A representative from the company that drafted the supplemental report said the document was a fair estimate of impacts and complied with state law. Dwayne S. Mears, principal for The Planning Center, said his staff did its best to address concerns.
At the meeting, several area elected officials spoke in favor of the project.
Councilman Dan Holloway of La Puente said he supported the project and likened it to the building of Dodger Stadium in the 1960s. Monterey Park Mayor Frank Venti and Rosemead Councilman John Nu ez also expressed support for the project.
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