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Rodiles/Bravo property public hearing set for council meeting

August 14, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Some local landowners will be interested in one particular discussion during tonight's City Council meeting.

On the agenda is an action item that states, "Set for public hearing — initial study Rodiles/Bravo property."

The owners of the Rodiles/Bravo property recently sued the city because of a unanimous City Council vote that required the landowners to pay for an environmental impact review.

According to the council's decision, the landowners had to pay for a $100,000 EIR — which takes about a year to complete — before they could develop houses, a mobile home park and an industrial park on the farmland east of the city near Cole Road and Highway 98.

The landowners sued the city, claiming their project didn't need an environmental review because all possible concerns had been mitigated and planned for.

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If the council sets a public hearing, the landowners would get another chance to prove they have mitigated all environmental concerns without paying for a review and waiting a year to begin construction.

Whatever the decision by the council, the landowners' lawsuit against the city is still pending and will be discussed in a closed session, according to City Attorney Michael Rood.

"There is a good chance we will be going into closed session and get some direction," Rood said.

Rood added the council could set a public hearing for an initial study of the project despite the pending lawsuit.

Last week the same item was pulled from the agenda because Rood said he wanted to look at specifics of the lawsuit before the development project was discussed at the council level.

One of the landowners pushing for the project to move forward attended last week's meeting and left as soon as the item was pulled.

El Centro-based development consultant Tom DuBose wasn't in town last week or he would have been there, too, he said Monday.

DuBose has argued on a number of occasions that the project he designed doesn't need an environmental review. He says he planned all elements of the project to work with existing city regulations.

DuBose hopes the council sets a public hearing for the project because, "Historically we've had success with that."

He added: "But in this case I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch."

Councilman Gilbert Grijalva said, "There were certain conditions that they had to comply with and I think we'll listen to it again.

"We'll take another look at it."

Grijalva said the lawsuit by the landowners didn't spur the council's renewed interest in the project.

"I don't think so. I think that lawsuit is the process of being withdrawn by (one of the landowners.) They were saying that they weren't aware of what was going on. They don't think they were completely apprised of anything."

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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