The City of El Centro filed a request Friday with the Imperial County Superior Court requesting that the court issue an injunction against the Imperial County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) for its improper California Environment Quality Act (CEQA) process. This means a judge would order LAFCO to stop any proceedings on a proposed healthcare district expansion project until LAFCO rectifies its CEQA process.
The litigation explains the legal errors in the process LAFCO used at its May 25, 2023, meeting to determine the potential environmental impacts of the proposed district expansion application. That application would include the City within the expanded district area. The basis of the litigation is LAFCO’s alleged failure to follow the statutory and regulatory process to identify and address the environmental impacts of that district expansion.
While the City does not own ECRMC, it owns the real property where ECRMC is located and is interested in how the annexation would affect its property and other functions.
In addition, LAFCO failed to provide the City of El Centro or the public the reasonable advance notice and comment period for the Negative Declaration in the manners required by the CEQA guidelines. LAFCO also failed to cause notice of its intention to adopt the Negative Declaration to be posted by the Imperial County Clerk per CEQA guidelines.
Despite repeated attempts to contact LAFCO, LAFCO has not responded to the litigation and has continued with various steps of the expansion project without addressing the City of El Centro’s concerns.
The City of El Centro is requesting a judge conduct a hearing and then rule on the injunction on September 14, 2023.