A group of neighborhood associations and residents in Pasadena has filed a lawsuit attempting to block city plans to offer the Rose Bowl as a temporary home to an NFL team that moves to Southern California while a permanent stadium is finished.
Announced Friday, a day after it was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the lawsuit challenges an environmental report approved by the Pasadena City Council that was the first step to bringing a team to the Rose Bowl, currently home to only college football.
An NFL team would need a temporary home for about two years during stadium construction, and a deal with the league reportedly could bring in between $5 million and $10 million to the cash-strapped city.
The Coalition for Preservation of the Arroyo, East Arroyo Neighborhood Preservation Committee, the Linda-Vista Annandale Association, and the San Rafael Neighborhoods Association are suing the city of Pasadena on "environmental grounds," according to a press release from the group.
In allowing the NFL to use the historic Rose Bowl Stadium, the lawsuit contends, the city failed to create "sufficient" plans to mitigate increased street congestion, air pollution and trash associated with NFL-sized traffic into Pasadena.
"The mitigations offered in the EIR by the City against the negative impacts were insufficient and in many regards insulted our intelligence and our collective community interest. The Committee views the proposed NFL five-year plan as a disaster to our neighborhood quality of life," Jonas Peters, Coalition representative and chair of the East Arroyo Neighborhood Preservation Committee, said in a press release.
As part of its argument against bringing the NFL to Pasadena, even temporarily, the group cited public safety concerns regarding tailgating and alcohol use by stadium goers as well as the loss of neighborhood-based recreation, such as golf and kids’ soccer, while the professional football season is in play.
The lawsuit asks the court not to allow the city to amend its code to allow the NFL to use the Rose Bowl Stadium until an NFL lease proposal has been drawn up.
While the city is not in direct negotiations with the league, Pasadena Councilman and president of the Rose Bowl Board of Directors Victor Gordo said the city is positioning itself to make the stadium available for an NFL team that relocates to the Southland.
"The issues being raised by neighbors are legitimate and the EIR addresses it," Gordo said, standing by the city's acceptance an environmental report that critics call hastily adopted.
Angela Williams has lived in Pasadena since 1963 and her home on Arroyo is directly above the Rose Bowl, where Stanford's win on New Year's Day brought unexpected traffic.
"Shuttle buses were up and down Arroyo," Williams recalled. "We haven't been told about that environmentally. What was that doing?"
Plans to create a football stadium in downtown LA received the official green light in September from the City Council.
Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) won approval for its privately-funded $1.2 billion Farmer's Field stadium days after the Denver-based company – which has a stake in three LA professional sports teams – announced it was putting itself up for sale. The decision further complicated the plan to bring a professional football team to LA.
The proposed Farmers Field stadium in downtown Los Angeles and a competing project in the City of Industry are both looking to lure an NFL team to the area.