A social advocacy nonprofit organization is asking a judge to void the city’s approval of the IKEA expansion project, arguing that the city failed to prepare an adequate environmental impact report, records show.
Citizens Advocating Rational Development alleged that the environmental impact report didn’t adequately analyze water supply, air quality, greenhouse emissions and climate change, and failed to discuss any project requirements to save energy, according to a petition for writ of mandate filed last week in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
“Each city in this state, whether with a population of millions or of 5,000, gets to make the decisions about the growth in this state that will impact our lives and the lives of our children and all of our descendants,” said Nick Green, the organization’s president, in an email.
“Not only are these local, and frankly, not very scientifically sophisticated city councils deciding these issues, but they are allowed to virtually ignore global warming and climate change,” he added.
The Burbank City Council last month approved the project, giving the Swedish furniture giant the green light to build a new store that will be nearly twice the size of its current Burbank store, making it the largest IKEA in the country.
The new store is slated to be built a few blocks away from the existing site, on a nearly 23-acre lot at 805 S. San Fernando Blvd.
IKEA spokesman Joseph Roth said Monday that he was aware of the petition, but is confident in the thoroughness and integrity of the city’s process, as well as the project.
“We believe it was a very thorough and comprehensive environmental impact report,” Roth said, adding that the retailer is still analyzing the potential ramifications of the complaint. “We look forward to resolving this challenge and moving forward with the development of a new IKEA Burbank.”
Burbank City Atty. Amy Albano said Tuesday the city does not agree with the assertions in the petition, in which the organization alleges that the environmental impact report failed to analyze the impacts of supplying water to the project.
“The cumulative effect of this project, taken with other projects either in the same geographical area for water supply and air quality, or in the broader global sense for climate, is inadequately discussed in the document and the EIR is totally deficient in this regard,” the petition states.
The group had shared almost identical concerns in a January letter to city officials during the city’s approval process.
City officials had refuted the claims, arguing that the project will have a number of features that will reduce energy use and provide opportunities for solar use, such as a location for clean-energy fuel cells that can run on natural gas, a building-management system to control heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting as well as skylights in the warehouse for natural light.
The city’s response also states that the report included a detailed discussion of the city’s water supplies and the project’s air-quality impacts.
“We gave a very thoughtful response to them,” Albano said of the city’s response to the group’s initial letter. “We went through and responded to all of their issues.”
A hearing on the case is scheduled for August.