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Quote of the Day - Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks. - Doug Larson
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Land Use In The Courtroom Limelight

While we weren't watching last week, a jury in Santa Barbara was.

The jury awarded some $5.5 million against the County's Planning Department, two former employees, one current employee and a consultant of the County.

Personally against the former and current employees and consultant, plus punitives. The jury sent a message. This case has been hotly litigated from the beginning, and it's not over yet.

It stems from the County's efforts to designate some 95 of 262 acres as wetlands and prevent Adams Bros. Farming from farming the land. Seems that the jury thought the wetlands delineation was a foregone conclusion and that the land was not actually wetlands.

The County had big plans for its
Orcutt Community Plan, but the jury saw through those plans, and held for the farmers whose land got redesignated. They found that the County's actions to rezone the farmers' lands as wetlands violated the farmers' rights, and were intentional, despicable and done with "malice, oppression or fraud."

Ouch.

The USEPA is pursuing a criminal action in LA against the Adams Brothers for filling the wetlands. Although I haven't seen that case, my guess is that with this jury verdict, the USEPA's case just got a lot harder to prove.

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Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, November 29, 2004 at 17:53 Comments Closed (1) |
 
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