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Soil, Grading and Compaction Reports Now Open To Public Scrutiny

You're a developer or geologist, and you submit grading documents, geology reports, compaction reports and maybe even soils reports to cities and counties as a consequence of your permit requirements.  Especially if the work is done in a hillside area.  Up to now, most cities and counties refused to allow individual citizens to copy those reports because they were not deemed "final" until approved by city staff.  As developers know, however, no grading is allowed until the reports have been "finaled/"

The government's denial of requests for these records slows down public records requests, but what's the real reason?  No one in government wants someone else (read project opponents) looking over their shoulder while doing their work.

Well, the government can avoid that level of scrutiny no longer.

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer responded to State Senator Sheila Kuehl's (D-LA) request for some clarification on the point of whether the cities and counties could deny access to these documents after receiving a Freedom of Information Act request under the California Public Records Act.  His opinion, issued late last month, instructs the government to make these records available upon request and denies the use of certain exceptions under the act.

Typically, you also can't get architectural plans through a public records request because the cities and counties require a release from the architect based on fear of violating a copyright.  Although architectural plans are not addressed in this opinion, they may suffer the same fate if challenged.  The lesson here?  Availability is increasing, which means close scrutiny of these documents is increasing as well. 

Big brother in reverse.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, March 15, 2006 at 19:15 Comments Closed (1) |
 
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