The city of Patterson wants to take Stanislaus County to court over a chicken and egg question: should the county have approved a memorandum of understanding with West Park developer Gerry Kamilos before doing an Environmental Impact Report?
The county approved the agreement with Kamilos on April 22. It concerns the proposed 4,800-acre West Park business and industrial park southeast of Patterson, a project vigorously opposed by Patterson officials.
West Park includes a short-haul rail link between the Port of Oakland and the Crows Landing Air Facility that forms the core of the development. Patterson city officials say the additional trains will disrupt traffic, including emergency vehicles, in the city, and increase air pollution.
The agreement spells out the terms and conditions West Park will have to meet in working out a more formal and detailed agreement with the county and its redevelopment agency. West Park submitted several engineering reports prior to the April 22 agreement, covering topics like traffic, water and sewer, drainage and the economic viability of the short haul rail proposal.
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But the Environmental Impact Report is a requirement of the California Environmental Quality Act, and is a far more detailed analysis of the project, what environmental problems it might pose, and how those problems might be alleviated. The West Park EIR is expected to take up to two years to complete.
The Patterson lawsuit, which city attorney George Logan said would be filed this week, contends the EIR should have been done before the memorandum of understanding was approved.
"The document they signed puts the county on a clear and straight path to a 5,000 acre development," Logan said.
Stanislaus County Counsel John Doering disagreed.
"The MOU is a non-binding agreement and does not lead to anything binding until an EIR is completed and certified,” Doering said.