A troupe of Yucaipa residents traveled Friday, Aug. 2, to San Bern ar dino to observe a hearing of the Citizen for the Preservation of Rural Living’s Calif ornia Environmental Qua lity Act case against Laz er Broad casting Corporation’s radio tower on the ridgeline above Wildwood Canyon State Park.
The hearing was a CEQA trial where arguments were heard in San Bernardino Coun ty Superior Court by Judge Donald Alvar ez. Each side presented their case and no other testimony was allowed.
A CEQA case is tried solely on administrative record. In this case, CPRL alleges the county did not comply with California’s environmental protection mandates when the Board of Supervisors approved the project last November, just days prior to a change of office for three of the supervisors.
According to CPRL’s representative, John Mirau, the group has consistently stated that the project has a significant impact on the environment and that a full environmental impact re port should have been required instead of a mitigated negative declaration.
CPRL attorney Jan Chatten-Brown stated that Lazer knew at the beginning of the proposal that it is a highly controversial project in a pristine setting then proceeded to begin by constructing the first pole without a permit.
She referred to the extensive trail system in the city, and the plan to expand the park. The expanded park could completely surround the tower site. Permitting the tower project to be constructed would create precedence for future towers on the ridgeline.
She stated to the judge there are other alternatives.
“There is controversy with towers, there always is, “said Lazer Broadcasting’s attorney, Jennifer Guenther, challenged the word pristine, refuted the precedence of other towers in the future and argued that some statements are unreliable. Guenther also challenged the involvement of Mirau, who also is an attorney who volunteers for the CPRL.
CPRL had filed the case in a writ of mandate on Dec. 21.
Judge Alvarez had requested both parties to keep their comments to the high points and each attorney spoke for about 30 minutes. He did not ask either attorney any questions and said he was taking the matter under consideration.
The judge did not indicate how long he would take to rule on the case, but under state law, he has 90 days to do so.