El Segundo group skips deadline

El Segundo group skips deadline

Kristin S. Agostoni DAILY BREEZE

The citizens group suing to stop El Segundo’s corporate campus development has missed a deadline to prolong its legal battle, opting to let the project move forward, the group’s chairman said.

Citizens Against Gridlock in El Segundo — which has had financial backing from Kilroy Realty of Los Angeles — launched a series of legal challenges to the project proposed by Thomas Properties Group beginning in 2002. After suffering a setback on April 29 in a state appeals court, the next step would have been to petition the state Supreme Court to hear the case.

The deadline for that move was June 9, according to a court clerk, or 40 days after the appeals court ruling. The case was completed on Wednesday.

“CAGES and Kilroy basically decided we’re not going to go any further,” said CAGES Chairman Brian Crowley. “Basically we said it’s time to call the city’s and TPG’s bluff.”

A Kilroy spokesman said he would have no comment, and the company’s lawyers did not return phone calls. Crowley said both groups made a mutual decision not to petition the higher court to hear the case.

The project calls for offices, retail and hotel space, soccer fields and a fire station on 46 acres at the corner of Nash Street and Mariposa Avenue.

El Segundo would pay $5 million in exchange for 5 acres of soccer fields.

Kilroy and CAGES have argued the project fails to address the city’s transportation needs and the requirements of the state’s environmental laws.

Crowley, a former planning commissioner, said he sticks to both claims, but he said he doubts the project will come to fruition anytime soon.

He pointed out that Thomas Properties still does not hold title to the property — which is owned by Federal Express Corp. — and he questioned where the city would find the money to construct and maintain the fields.

“It will be years at best before anybody kicks a soccer ball on that field,” he said.

Officials from Thomas Properties have declined to say how the company plans to proceed.

“It is premature to comment on litigation matters at this time,” Senior Vice President Thomas Ricci said in a prepared statement.

“We look forward to implementing the vision of Campus El Segundo as approved by the City Council and the voters.”

City officials are planning to meet with the company to discuss the development within the next few weeks, “to dust off the file, so to speak,” Mayor Kelly McDowell said.

“We welcome what appears to be the conclusion of the CAGES/Kilroy litigation,” he said.

Kilroy and CAGES also have tried to stall the project in City Hall.

They asked the City Council in April to overturn a Planning Commission decision to extend the life of the development’s tract map, but the council rejected that appeal on a 4-0 vote.

Copyright Copley Press Inc. 2004

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