Case Studies & Examples / Etc.

“Hillside ordinance prompts suit”

January 6, 2007

By David Burger, The Bakersfield Californian

“The developers and landowners affected by the revised hillside ordinance, which essentially limits where developers can build in the hills of northeast Bakersfield, are suing the city of Bakersfield, court records showed Friday.

They hope the courts will prevent the ordinance from being enforced, alleging the city violated the California Environmental Quality Act.

“(The city) violated their duties under CEQA by failing to prepare an adequate initial study and EIR for the project, which may have a significant effect on the environment,” the lawsuit says. “The adoption of the amended hillside ordinance (is) invalid and must be voided and set aside.”

The plaintiffs argue the city must prepare an environmental impact report before the ordinance can be enforced.

Until then, the plaintiffs ask that the Kern County Superior Court issue a temporary restraining order and injunction preventing the city from acting on the ordinance until a trial can go forward.

History of bad blood

The revised hillside ordinance was approved by unanimous vote on Oct. 25, after more than a year of acrimony between landowners who hoped to develop amid the hillsides of northeast Bakersfield and the city, backed by environmental groups and other citizens who wanted the scenic beauty preserved.”

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