Environmental group files new lawsuit aiming to halt Tejon Ranch’s progress on Grapevine project

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Tejon Ranch’s plans to build an 8,000-acre community at the Grapevine are facing a new legal challenge. 

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a new lawsuit today in Kern County Superior Court against Tejon Ranch and Kern County asking for a judge to override the Kern County Board of Supervisors’ recent approval of a supplemental environmental report for the project.

The lawsuit alleges that the report doesn’t adequately evaluate environmental impacts of the project or identify significant mitigation measures to help protect the environment. 

“This project is bad for people and wildlife,” said Ileene Anderson, a scientist at the center, a nonprofit environmental organization. “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.”

The organization says the project will destroy the habitat for 36 rare plants and animals as well as block the last best wildlife corridor between the San Joaquin Valley, Tehachapi mountains and coastal range. 

The Grapevine project, located near the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center off Interstate 5, provides up to 12,000 homes and around 5.1 million square feet of commercial use. 

This isn’t the first time the Center for Biological Diversity has attempted to halt the project. The organization sued Tejon Ranch in 2017 and a Kern County judge blocked the project in 2018 after ruling that it needed more environmental review. 

After working on a supplemental environmental report, the company presented its plans and the report for consideration at the Supervisors meeting last month. The board approved the plans and the report, allowing the project to move forward. 

“It’s clear that this latest lawsuit by CBD is simply another blatant attempt to delay the development of the Grapevine project, which will provide much needed housing and economic development to Kern County and the region,” Tejon Ranch said in a statement.

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