A family who owns a dairy is suing the city over environmental documents prepared for a new office building complex at the corner of West and Harney lanes.
The suit alleges that the city needs to conduct more studies to accurately show the affects of the project on the environment.
The 30 acres is owned by Carl Fink, owner of Lakewood Drugs, and a tenant leases it to grow strawberries.
Under plans submitted by applicant and Lodi resident Mike Carouba, the piece of land would eventually include five new office buildings and some commercial spaces.
Carouba has confirmed Sutter Gould as the first tenant. Phase one of the project is focused on constructing a $40 million, three-story medical office building that includes a medical lab, Carouba said.
The rest of the project would be completed as future development increases in the area around the intersection, he said.
Mary Kaehler filed the suit on behalf of her family, who owns a dairy on Armstrong Road.
The outspoken family members have written letters of protest and spoke at the April 20 meeting where the Lodi CIty Council approved annexing the 30 acres into the city limits.
Opponents had 30 days to file a suit, and Kaehler filed the suit in late May.
The project and annexation was also supposed to go before the county's Local Agency Formation Commission for approval, but that will most likely be postponed until the suit is resolved, City Attorney Steve Schwabauer said.
The family is upset with the loss of farmland, and argued that there are plenty of commercial spots within the city limits where the office building could go.
Carouba said there is no space for a development of this size in the current city limits.
The suit's main argument is about environmental studies. The city did a certified mitigated declaration for the project.
The Kaehler family argues that the city needs conduct an environmental impact report, which is much more involved, to determine the true affects of the project on agriculture and the environment. At the meeting on April 20, Schwabauer said the project was already studied as part of the General Plan's environmental impact report. The General Plan was passed in April 2010 and provides guidelines for development over the next 20 years.
The 30 acres of farmland is not in the city's boundaries, but it is included in the General Plan's sphere of influence, which is where the city intends to grow.
Calls to the Kaehler family and Carouba were not immediately returned Friday.