The developer of the Valencia expansion west of Interstate 5 won’t have to redo its water supply or greenhouse gas analyses, an appellate panel has ruled.
Two environmental groups, Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment (SCOPE) and Friends of the Santa Clara River, were suing developer Five Point Holdings LLC and the county of Los Angeles on grounds that the reviews of the project’s impacts on the local water supply and climate change were outdated.
The Superior Court ruled in Five Point’s favor in January, and in April, the Court of Appeal upheld the ruling.
Five Point revealed the appellate court decision in a quarterly earnings statement filed Monday with the SEC.
SCOPE and the Friends of the River were the two holdouts after most litigants, including the Center for Biological Diversity, settled with Five Point in 2017. The environmental organizations had scored a court victory in 2015 that compelled Five Point to alter its plans for its Mission Village and Landmark Village phases south of Highway 126. Under the 2017 settlement, Five Point agreed, among other things, to set aside more land as wildlife habitat; stabilize the river and protect the endangered unarmored threespine stickleback fish; and curb greenhouse gas emissions through a “Net Zero” program that would include 10,000 solar installations.
SCOPE and the Friends of the River didn’t agree to the settlement. Instead they pursued further litigation that apparently came to an end in April.
“In April 2020, the Court of Appeal issued a ruling affirming the Superior Court’s judgment in favor of the company (Five Point) and Los Angeles County,” Five Point reported.
As expected, Five Point posted a net loss of $54.2 million for the quarter ending March 31, versus a net gain of $52.8 million for the first quarter of 2019. A majority ($30 million) of the loss is attributable to the company’s Great Park Venture in Irvine, where revenues from land sales fell from $127.7 million in the first quarter of 2019 to just $0.7 million in the first quarter of 2020.
The company has previously stated that it is well positioned to weather the COVID-19 storm through the end of the year, if necessary; and that it carries no project debt for any of its master-planned communities. Based in Irvine, Five Point has development projects in Irvine, Valencia and San Francisco.