Grapevine project image

An artist's rendering of what Tejon Ranch Co.'s master-planned development known as Grapevine might look like.

An Arizona-based environmental group has again challenged plans for a large, master-planned community just north of the Grapevine, saying Kern County's amended environmental review of the project underestimates its potential impacts on wildlife and air quality.

The lawsuit filed Friday in Kern County Superior Court by the Center for Biological Diversity says a review approved last month by the county Board of Supervisors misapplied a model for calculating health impact. It also alleges the county failed to take full account of the project's possible effects on protected species such as the San Joaquin kit fox and the blunt-nosed leopard lizard.

"This project is bad for people and wildlife,” Ileene Anderson, a CBD scientist, said in a news release. “Grapevine will push the imperiled kit fox closer to extinction while clogging the I-5 with even more long-distance commuters and adding to the region’s air pollution burden.”

She added, “Kern County needs to clearly inform the public how this project will harm communities instead of clinging to unrealistic and unsubstantiated projections.”

The phased development proposal by Lebec-based Tejon Ranch Co. would put 12,000 homes and up to 5.1 million square feet of commercial development along Interstate 5 near the foot of the Grapevine.

A senior county official in charge of the environmental review could not be reached for comment Friday.

Tejon Ranch Co. issued a statement Friday saying the legal challenge was entirely expected "given the long history of CBD challenging projects statewide that would provide much needed housing and economic development, including projects at Tejon Ranch."

The company accused the organization of "re-litigating" an issue on which it already lost.

"To stand in the way of these locally approved developments that will bring thousands of much-needed, price-attainable homes to California families is yet another stark example of CBD’s 'my-way-or-the-highway' mentality," it wrote.

In July 2018, the CBD persuaded a Superior Court judge to order a revised environmental review because of concerns the county hadn't done enough analysis of the project's traffic and air quality impacts.

The county consequently revisited its review, making changes and bringing it back for a vote of the board, which reaffirmed the review in December.

John Cox can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter: @TheThirdGraf. Sign up at Bakersfield.com for free newsletters about local business.

(4) comments

yorkies2014

could someone explain to me what that nice "artist's rendering of what Tejon Ranch Co.'s master-planned development known as Grapevine might look like" has to do with the deveolopment......it looks like a 1930's depression era mural sponsored by the government mixed with a Mission and farm workers with very dry mountains in the background......I liked Christo and Jeanne-Claude umbrella's better

RubySue

Kangaroo rats, small mostly nocturnal rodents of genus Dipodomys, are native to arid areas of western North America. The common name derives from their bipedal form. They hop in a manner similar to the much larger kangaroo, but developed this mode of locomotion independently, like several other clades of rodents (e.g. dipodids and hopping mice).

Not to be confused with smaller Australian marsupial relatives of kangaroos and wallabies known as rat-kangaroos.

She Dee

Hmmm. I have to wonder why this "Arizona Based" company didn't raise a fuss before the Casino was approved. Yep, that's all I have on this one.

REMUDA

Is this yet another "Measure N" . . . Brown Act . . . ?

There's a reason Bakersfield lies where it is. Water. There's a reason no large communities lie at the foot of the Grapevine. Water. Centennial and Tejon Mountain Village are examples of "what not!"

As traffic and city-produced pollution add to the already highest particulate smog in North (and South) America, it surprises no one that for once the CBD is on the right track, even if for all the wrong reasons. Kern County BOS should realize that the homeless problem is not the top priority, but could as KC does an 'overpop from LA' & "blossoms" even further. (pun intended) For now, "The Bees Have It All!" (but soon won't)

BTW, that famous 'errant import', 'The Australian Kangaroo Rat' is alive and well, as always.

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