SETTLEMENT IN SUIT OVER GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT
County Agrees to Withdraw Over Half of Proposed Changes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 2, 2005
Contact: Adam Keats, Center for Biological Diversity
The Center for Biological Diversity and the County of Riverside have agreed to a settlement of the Center’s lawsuit over the County’s attempt to change the General Plan without conducting environmental review. The settlement, finalized today, requires the County to go back to the drawing board for over half of the parcels that were slated to have their land use designations changed.
The Center for Biological Diversity had filed the lawsuit in May to stop the amendment to the General Plan from taking effect, claiming that it was adopted in violation of California’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The amendment, Amendment 716, would have changed the land use designations of over 640 parcels, containing approximately 10,000 acres, across Riverside County. Most of the land would have had its designation changed from open space and conservation use to residential or commercial development.
The settlement allows only those parcels that were to have their designations changed to allow less development, along with a few urban-infill parcels, to move forward. The majority of the parcels, including those that would have allowed development in previously-designated open or conservation space, shall revert to their older designations.
“This settlement is a win for the citizens of Riverside County, a win for the habitat of its wildlife, and it’s a big win for good government,” stated Adam Keats, staff attorney with the Center. “The County will have to go back and do proper environmental review, as is required by state law, before changing the designations of hundreds of parcels across the county. We think that this is tremendously important not only for the protection of important natural areas in Riverside County but also for the ability of residents and neighbors to be informed and have a say in decisions that are being made about their neighborhoods.”