The city of Patterson on Wednesday lost a bid in court to slow a 4,800-acre industrial development on its outskirts.
Patterson couldn't persuade three justices at the 5th District Court of Appeal in Fresno that Stanislaus County bypassed a state environmental law in April 2008 when supervisors endorsed an agreement with developer Gerry Kamilos' firm, CPPC West Park.
He wants to transform the former Crows Landing Naval Air Station into an industrial hub with a rail link to the Port of Oakland, a proposal Patterson officials and some residents argue would harm life on the West Side with traffic congestion and other environmental impacts.
In court, Patterson contended that the county should have required a thorough environmental impact report before signing a memorandum of understanding with Kamilos that advanced his proposal over another offered by a Texas company.
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The court called Patterson's argument "persuasive," but said the point was moot because an environmental study already is under way.
"The relief Patterson requests in this case — an order voiding the county's approval of the (memorandum of understanding) — would not have any effect," wrote Justice Rebecca Wiseman.
Supervisors in 2008 weighed Kamilos' proposal to develop the air base against another carried by Hillwood, a company led by Ross Perot Jr. Kamilos' was regarded as the more ambitious of the two, and it won approval from the Board of Supervisors on a 3-2 vote.
The board's support launched a memorandum of understanding between the county and Kamilos that requires him to comply with state law and conduct an environmental impact report on the project before supervisors vote on whether to let him build.
"In that sense, the county is not doing anything different," County Counsel John Doering said. "We're still proceeding with doing an environmental impact report and further studies."
A draft environmental impact report could be released later this year, Doering said. That document would open a window for residents and public agencies to weigh in on the project and suggest changes to county officials.
"We have reserved complete authority to the Board of Supervisors to amend or change the project," Doering said.
Patterson officials could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.
Kamilos said the city's lawsuit — filed in September 2008 — slowed the project by about a year.
"We are committed to the county's vision to create a regional jobs center on the West Side, and with the lawsuit settled, all the parties need to join together to create the best project possible," he said.
Bee Assistant City Editor Adam Ashton can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2366.