An L.A. environmental group is seeking to halt a planned Ikea in Burbank that would be the nation’s largest, alleging that the massive project did not undergo a proper review to assess and reduce its impact on global warming.
The group, Citizens Advocating Rational Development, alleges in a lawsuit filed April 14 in L.A. County Superior Court that the city approved the 470,000-square-foot project at 805 S. San Fernando Road despite an environmental impact report that did not meet the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act.
The lawsuit names both Ikea Property Inc., and the city, which approved the development on March 11, as defendants. The EIR was prepared by Meridian Consultants LLC, a Westlake Village firm that was not named as a defendant.
The lawsuit claims that the report failed to discuss ways to reduce energy usage. It also claims the report did not properly assess the project’s water supplies since the store will generate emissions that will exacerbate global warming, which has changed rainfall and snowpack.
“Cities and developers must provide information that allows both decision makers and members of the public to understand the true magnitude of the problem and the effect that continued development will cumulatively have on the problems,” the lawsuit states.
In response, Joy Forbes, the city’ community development director, directed the Business Journal to responses that Meridian issued after the environmental group similarly criticized the report during the EIR-review process.
The consulting firm notes that the project will have roof-top solar panels and reduce energy consumption through others measures, including fuel cells and abundant natural lighting. It also notes that the project has an adequate municipal water supply and will comply with municipal laws to reduce global warming effects both during and after construction.
Joseph Roth, the U.S. spokesman for Ikea, a Swedish company based in Leiden, Netherlands, said he doubted the lawsuit would halt the project, which is set to get underway in June with demolition of existing buildings on the site.
“We are confident that both the environmental impact report and the city’s process for approving it were very sound and very correct,” he said . “Most folks who followed the review and discussion locally would observe this was a very thorough process.”
Nick Green, the environmental group’s president and founder, was not immediately available for comment.
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