ELG wins a Writ of Administrative Mandate for client in Marin County

Posted by in Administrative Law, CEQA, Environmental Legislation and Regulation on October 7, 2016

On September 19, 2016, Marin Superior Court Judge Paul M. Haakenson granted judgment in favor of ELG’s client, the Point San Pedro Road Coalition (“Coalition”), on its Petition for a Writ of Administrative Mandate (“Petition”).  (See decision here.)  ELG filed the Petition on behalf of the Coalition in 2015 to vacate the Marin County (“County”) Board of Supervisor’s September 15, 2015 decision, by a unanimous 5-0 vote, to approve the permit amendment sought by the San Rafael Rock Quarry (“Quarry”) to allow it to import used asphalt for recycling. That exact activity previously had been found to be outside the Quarry’s vested rights by Marin County Superior Court Judge John Sutro Jr. in 2004, after a 2003 trial conducted by ELG on behalf of Coalition. The Quarry is a non-conforming use on its own property, the result of a re-zoning obtained by a prior owner of the Quarry in 1982 in anticipation of the closing of the Quarry, an event the current owner has delayed.

ELG argued, both in a previous Petition filed in 2013, and again in its 2015 Petition (when the permit amendment was re-approved by the County), that the County’s approval of the quarrying permit amendment was: 1) a violation of Judge Sutro’s prior injunction against that precise activity, 2) contrary to the Quarry’s own acknowledgement at the 2003 trial that it had no vested right to conduct that activity, and 3) an approval of the expansion of a non-conforming use in violation of the County’s zoning regulations. Relying on all three legal grounds asserted by ELG for the Coalition, the Court agreed that the County’s approval of the permit amendment was contrary to law. Judge Haakenson’s decision states that the Court will issue a writ of administrative mandate ordering the County to immediately vacate its approval of the Quarry’s Permit amendment request.

ELG also represented the Coalition in the 2003 trial to determine the Quarry’s vested rights on its legal, non-conforming use property, and throughout the CEQA environmental review process concerning the amended quarrying permit imposed on the Quarry, which took place over six years following the conclusion of the trial.

 

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