Lawsuit filed against county for its tower decision

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Michelle N. Black, an attorney with Chatten-Brown and Carstens LLP of Hermosa Beach, has filed a Petition of Writ of Mandate (California Environmental Quality Act suit) in the Superior Court for the state of California for the County of San Bernardino on Dec. 21 on behalf of the Citizens for the Preservation of Rural Living against the Coun ty of San Bernardino and Lazer Broadcasting, Inc. and Does 1 to 10.

The case name is Citizens for Preservation of Rural Living versus the County of San Bernardino. CPRL is a public interest association that seeks to  ensure that the open space and natural wilderness values of the Pisgah Peak and Wildwood Canyon State Park are preserved.

Redlands Att orney John Mirau is the president of CPRL and has been an advocate in leading the opposition to the tower construction since it was first proposed. He is leading the legal team that filed the case.

The action challenges the county failure to comply with the CEQA in approving an inadequate mitigated negative declaration and not instead preparing an environmental impact report for the construction of a 43-foot tall radio tranmission tower and associated industrial facilities on an undeveloped 38-acre parcel of land adjacent to the Wildwood Canyon State Park and the San Bernardino National Forest in the unincorporated area of Oak Glen in San Bernardino County.

Due to its proposed location on a west-facing slope in the steep foothills of the San Bernardino mountains, the tower cannot be screened from the views of city of Yucaipa residents or from hikers, bikers and equestrians visiting the park.

The lawsuit challenges the decision based on the county’s previous decision to deny a similar proposal, the enormous public opposition, include the city of Yucaipa, increased fire hazards, lack of thoroughly analyzing the impacts, those impacts failed to be mitigated.

The filed documents name the county’s mitigated negative declaration as incomplete, misleading and inadequate naming the inadequate visual renderings that were to depict the fences and changes in the plan along with the significant aesthetic impacts along with a long list of other inconsistencies and impact along with the violations of the County Deve lopment Code.

According to Mirau, CPRL has always taken the position that a full environmental impact report should have been prepared prior to the consideration of the Lazer tower. The County of San Bernardino ig nored our request for an EIR, so we will now have the court determine if the county violated the California Environ mental Quality Act by approving the tower without preparing an EIR.” Mirau added, “CPRL is  not opposed to Lazer Broadcasting constructing a radio tower on property that is not environmentally sensitive. CPRL off ered to purchase the Lazer property and help them find a suitable location to construct the tower, increase their audience and respect the wishes of the communities that the state park be protected from visual blight. Lazer continues to ignore that offers.”

“This is great,’” said Yucaipab Brad Hamil.

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