On Tuesday, Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff paused plans to construct 19,333 new homes at Centennial Tejon Ranch, a 12,323-acre master-planned community in northern Los Angeles County. 

The county approved the project by Tejon Ranch Company in 2019, but three environmental groups (Climate Resolve, the Center for Biological Diversity and the California Native Plant Society) filed a pair of lawsuits to thwart development.

Twenty out of 23 claims against the developer were denied by Beckloff, but he sided with Climate Resolve in contesting certain aspects of the environmental impact report. Beckloff rejected the county’s approval of the report, noting that concerns over wildfire risk and greenhouse gas emissions had not been adequately addressed.

“Environmental impact reports are extremely lengthy, complex documents and it’s difficult to get everything perfect the first time out,” said Barry Zoeller, senior vice president at Tejon Ranch Company, in a statement.

First proposed in 1999, Centennial is imagined as a sustainable, mixed-use community with “a wide array of housing types, business park/office space, commercial, schools, parks, natural open space, cultural, and public uses,” according to the project website. Located 70 miles north of Los Angeles, the site would be developed over a 20-year period, preserving approximately 5,600 acres as open space.  

The ruling will delay construction but the project is unlikely to be quashed. Tejon Ranch Company must now seek re-approval from the county, which will require further analysis.

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