Online shopping is booming in California and throughout the country. Zoning officials in an eastern state say that this has prompted a need for more warehouse space in their community. Following a ZOOM meeting between zoning board officials and members of the community, a project was approved, which has led to construction litigation because people in the community say their voices to oppose the project were stifled.
Board members accused of intimidating speakers during a virtual call
Several of the plaintiffs say that they participated in a ZOOM meeting in February, 2021, during which time, they attempted to voice opposition against new warehouse space construction. However, the plaintiffs say that every time they tried to speak during the virtual meeting, board members would intimidate them and cut them off. Their legal complaint states that the public was not given a sufficient amount of time to comment before a variance was granted to increase warehouse space by 500,000 feet on a partially developed site.
The legal claim also lists the plaintiffs’ concerns about the potentially negative environmental impact the new construction would have on the community. They told the court that the zoning decisions were based on outdated information and flawed studies. Many people who oppose the project say it will threaten the wildlife that seeks refuge on the 90-acre plot of land.
Zoning officials respond with a public statement
In May, board members released a public statement in response to the 34-page legal complaint, stating that members of the community were given the opportunity to voice their objections to the warehouse construction project. One representative said the public participation portion of the hearing was already closed when community members wanted to state their opinions during the ZOOM meeting. The spokesperson also said, however, that people will have another opportunity to share their thoughts when the developer seeks subdivision approval. Anyone in California facing similar construction litigation issues may want to discuss his or her case with an experienced construction law attorney before heading to court.