If construction doesn't begin in two months one of the partners — one who has expressed interest in building the industrial park — could walk away from the deal, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.
If the group does file a complaint, a judge could overturn the City Council's decision to require the EIR, according to City Attorney Michael Rood.
Earlier this month the City Council voted 4-0 in support of a planning commission decision that required the landowners to complete a full EIR.
At public meetings, the group argued through its lawyer and development consultant that the project didn't require an EIR because the specifications of the proposed developments followed the requirements of a service area plan approved by the city in 1999.
The proposed developments would be built on more than 200 acres of farmland in the northeast corner of Calexico.
Ricardo Hinojosa, director of the city's planning department, said he is sure the city's decision to require the EIR will be validated if a complaint is filed.
He said the California Department of Transportation rejected the traffic study the landowners commissioned for the project.
"Just on that mere fact they don't qualify for a mitigated negative declaration," Hinojosa said.
A mitigated negative declaration is development terminology for the approval of a project without an EIR.
According to the Web site operated by the California Resources Agency, a state information agency, "Negative declaration can be prepared only when there is no substantial evidence in light of the whole record before the lead agency that the project may have a significant effect on the environment."
An EIR must be prepared when there is substantial evidence in the record that supports a fair argument that significant effects may occur.
Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419.
California Resources Agency Web site: http://www.ceres.ca.gov