Affordable Housing Group Seeks to Stop Clippers Arena

A group of affordable housing advocates are suing the City of Inglewood, claiming city leaders violated state law when they offered a stretch of public land to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Before selling or disposing of public land, the Surplus Land Act requires city officials to make a written offer to lease or sell the property for affordable housing development. But Uplift Inglewood Coalition and its attorneys say the city never notified housing developers or other agencies that the land was available.

“It is simply negligent on the part of our elected officials to prioritize the needs of a billionaire over the needs of the residents of Inglewood,” said Woodrow Curry III, a member of Uplift Inglewood.

The lawsuit also alleges the city violated other state laws by not adequately zoning for affordable housing and emergency shelters. It asks a judge to void the city’s agreement with the Clippers’ developer and to command Inglewood to comply with the Surplus Land Act.

Mayor James Butts has refused to comment on the suit. Previously, however, he said an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration prohibited the city from using the land for housing.

The coalition and its attorneys don’t buy it.

“There is other residential housing that has been built, or is being contemplated to be built, under the flight path,” attorney Antonio Hicks said. “We have asked for those documents and we have not received those documents. Until I see it, I will not believe it.”

Gentrification has become a growing source of concern in Inglewood, especially since the approval of a $2 billion NFL stadium slated to open in 2020. The city’s most recent housing assessment shows about half of Inglewood’s residents are spending more than 50% of their income on rent.


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