Articles tagged with: california

San Luis Obispo County responds to Oceano Dunes lawsuits

San Luis Obispo County responds to Oceano Dunes lawsuits

Reprinted from The Tribune, July 28, 2021

California State Parks, the California Coastal Commission, San Luis Obispo County and the local Air Pollution Control District have filed responses to the lawsuits they face after the commission’s historic vote in March that effectively banned off-roading in the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area in three years.

The government entities now face two lawsuits, down from the four originally filed after three of the cases were consolidated due to overlapping legal claims, according to San Luis Obispo County Superior Court records.

Friends of Oceano Dunes and EcoLogic Partners allege in the consolidated lawsuit that the Coastal Commission violated state environmental laws by ordering State Parks to prohibit off-highway vehicle (OHV) use at the Oceano Dunes by 2024.

The second suit, filed by Friends of Oceano Dunes — a nonprofit off-road riding group that advocates for continued OHV access to the dunes — asks for a judge to grant a quiet title for nearly the entire Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. That quiet title lawsuit alleges the area has an “implied-by-law dedication” for OHV use, beach camping and camping and therefore cannot be used for any other purpose.

“Quiet title” lawsuits are usually brought against private landowners and are typically used to “quiet” a dispute over who owns the land.

In this case, Friends of Oceano Dunes in its lawsuit doesn’t dispute who owns the land, just that the owners allegedly are improperly using the land by banning OHVs and camping in some areas of the park.

Attorneys for the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District and State Parks generally denied all of the allegations in the quiet title lawsuit in separate filings received by the court on July 14 and 16, respectively.

Coastal Commission and State of California attorneys filed a demurrer in the case. That means the attorneys may not dispute the facts but argue that there is no valid legal claim.

“Friends (of Oceano Dunes) seek, in effect, to adversely possess the public’s property for specific recreational uses,” the demurrer says. “This they simply cannot do.”

A hearing is set for Jan. 5 in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court, during which Judge Tana Coates may decide to sustain the demurrer, meaning Friends of Oceano Dunes may be able to revise their case.

If Judge Coates decides to overrule the demurrer, then the case is allowed to proceed as is.

Other Oceano Dunes lawsuit consolidates three cases into one

Only the county has responded to the first lawsuit.

That case, which was originally three separate cases consolidated into one, alleges the Coastal Commission violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in its vote to ban OHV use at the Oceano Dunes because it did not conduct a proper environmental review to determine whether the prohibition would impact the environment.

CEQA reviews are conducted when an adverse environmental impact is expected to occur from an action or development.

The Coastal Commission’s staff report before the commission’s March meeting did not find that eliminating OHV use at the Oceano Dunes would negatively impact the environment.

The first lawsuit additionally alleges that State Parks also violated CEQA because it was mandated to comply with the Coastal Commission’s ban of OHV use without proper environmental review.

The county, which was named as a “real party-in-interest” because it owns the nearly 600-acre La Grande Tract property within Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, generally denied all of the allegations against it.

The Coastal Commission, Friends of Oceano Dunes and EcoLogic Partners are currently gathering all administrative records related to the commission’s March vote.

In its lawsuit, EcoLogic Partners alleged the Coastal Commission “has deleted or destroyed records relating to the amendment of CDP 4-82-300 (the Coastal Development Permit for Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area) and any environmental review thereof, and that such destroyed records were required to be retained for inclusion in the administrative record for this action.”

The Coastal Commission has indicated in court documents that those records are held in “approximately 20 bankers boxes of physical documents, as well as an untold number of electronic documents.”

Therefore, the three parties may hire a third-party vendor to help with the gathering of records, which Friends of Oceano Dunes indicated could cost “in excess of $75,000,” according to court documents.

Those records will be compiled and reviewed by the parties over the next few months. A case status conference is set for Oct. 28 in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court to discuss the record preparation.

California smog inspectors to begin checking for illegally tuned vehicles

Begins July 19, 2021

California smog inspectors to begin checking for illegally tuned vehicles

Beginning July 19, California’s Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) may fail motor vehicles during their “smog check” inspection if they are found to have software modifications (tunes) not provided by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or approved through a California Air Resources Board (CARB) Executive Order (EO).

Read more: https://www.semasan.com/legislative-alerts/california/california-smog-inspectors-check-illegally-tuned-vehicles

Oppose AB1512, SB799 regarding Carnegie SVRA

Photo courtesy Carnegie SVRA Facebook page

Reprinted from this link

Assembly Bill 1512 and Senate Bill 799 seek to stop the Alameda-Tesla Expansion Area from use by Jeeps, 4x4s and UTVs.

If you own one of these recreational vehicles and enjoy seeing nature using them, these bills would eliminate any chance of having this opportunity in the Bay Area. Oppose these bills.

The Carnegie State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) General Plan for the expansion area allows one-third of the 3,100 acres to be a buffer zone dedicated to conservation and restoration, in which there would be no motorized travel. The remaining part of the expansion area would be an off-road experience for four-wheel driving and backcountry camping.

An off-road experience doesn't mean you just go out and drive wherever you please. Off-road driving takes place on designated dirt roads, trails or in special off-highway vehicle (OHV) areas. It is an enjoyable form of recreation for all ages and families. It would be fun to explore the hills in this area in a park specifically dedicated and planned for such use.

Carnegie SVRA is to be commended for having the foresight to buy the Alameda-Tesla Expansion Area for OHV recreational use using OHV funds. There is no place in the Bay Area for this kind of off-road nature experience for those of us who enjoy Jeeps, 4x4s and UTVs.

Oppose this legislation by contacting your State Legislator or the Bills' authors, AB1512 Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan or SB799 Senator Steven Glazer.

Friends of Oceano Dunes Files Quiet Title Lawsuit to Ensure Continued Camping and OHV Recreation at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area

Friends of Oceano Dunes Files Quiet Title Lawsuit to Ensure Continued Camping and OHV Recreation at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area

Friends of Oceano Dunes (Friends) filed a third lawsuit arguing that state law mandates that OHV recreation, beach driving and camping are permanent uses at the Oceano Dunes that cannot be banned by any agency.

Friends’ new lawsuit is known as a “quiet title” action and it argues that public off-road riders used nearly 145 parcels within Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (ODSVRA) long before the land was owned by the public, and that use created an implied dedication for off-road vehicle recreation, and camping, and also for driving vehicles on the beach. Under state law, neither the Coastal Commission, State Parks, or any other governmental agency has authority to prohibit uses established by an implied dedication. Once established, an implied dedication exists forever.

Friends previously filed a lawsuit claiming that the Commission’s action violated the California Environmental Quality Act, and another lawsuit arguing that the Commission violated the Coastal Act which expressly forbids the Commission from decreasing, duplicating or superseding the authority of State Parks, which manages the park. All three lawsuits are currently pending before the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court.

Friends attorney, Tom Roth, is a well-respected land use attorney specializing in California coastal matters and has led the Friends legal actions for 17 years which include delisting the California Brown Pelican, and has won court victories for Friends against the Coastal Commission, State Parks, Air Resources Board, Air Pollution Control District and the United States Fish and Wildlife Services to name a few.

The Friends Board of Directors has made it clear that “Friends is in it to win it” and “are prepared to file more lawsuits and do what is needed to defend our rights and our culture to have families continue to camp and recreate on the beach and dunes as has been done for over 100 years”. Friends president, Jim Suty also said that “Friends is deeply concerned for those with disabilities who count on driving on the beach and dunes to gain the access that is otherwise not easily available to them in California”. In addition, Suty added, “this is an affordable way for people to camp and spend the night on the overpriced California coast for only $10 a night”.

The Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area is in the central coast of California near Pismo Beach and attracts approximately 2 million annual visitors and provides over $200 million to the local economy each year. This unique 20 mile stretch of sand and dunes has been enjoyed by families for vehicle recreation and camping that is well documented going back to the early 1900’s. Land speed races occurred on the beach in the 1930’s and the first beach buggy was invented in the 1950’s.

Friends of Oceano Dunes is a 501(C)(3) California not-for-profit corporation expressly created in 2001 to preserve camping and off-highway vehicle recreation at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area (ODSVRA). Friends is a grass root volunteer organization which represents approximately 28,000 members and users of the Oceano Dunes SVRA. www.oceanodunes.org

Coastal Commission decides fate of OHV use at Oceano Dunes

CCC votes to phase out OHV in three years

Coastal Commission decides fate of OHV use at Oceano Dunes

Reprinted from The Sacramento Bee, March 18, 2021

Update, 9 p.m.

In a historic vote, the California Coastal Commission unanimously voted to revise the coastal development permit for Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area to prohibit off-highway vehicle use in the park by 2026.

Read more here: https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/article250028929.html

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