A Bakersfield land-development company has agreed to drop its environmental lawsuit against the California High-Speed Rail Authority – the second out-of-court settlement among seven challenges over the Fresno-Bakersfield segment of the statewide bullet-train route.
Coffee-Brimhall LLC, which owns land in east-central Bakersfield proposed for a retail/commercial/residential development called Bakersfield Commons, sued the rail authority last year in Sacramento Superior Court.
The suit alleged that the state’s approval and environmental certification of the 114-mile Fresno-Bakersfield route violated the California Environmental Quality Act.
The proposed route approved last May runs through the Bakersfield Commons site, and the development firm “believes the Bakersfield hybrid (rail) alignment would severely impact Coffee-Brimhall’s plans to develop the parcels.”
In a settlement announced Tuesday, the rail authority agreed “to analyze, and consider in good faith one or more (high-speed train) alignments that do not traverse” the Coffee-Brimhall property by producing a future environmental analysis that will also include the already-approved route.
The agreement also calls for those alternative alignments to steer clear of the Coffee-Brimhall property by at least a half-mile.
The condition for a new analysis of route alternatives through Bakersfield is similar to one included in a December settlement between the rail authority and the city of Bakersfield.
Still pending, however, are five other CEQA lawsuits against the rail authority by Dignity Health; the First Free Will Baptist Church in Bakersfield; Kern County; the city of Shafter; and Kings County, the Kings County Farm Bureau and Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability.