News Release – For Immediate Release
April 22, 2007
Contact: Mary Altmann (818) 667-3590 for questions or copy of ruling
City of Agoura Hills (818) 597-7300
Citizen wins CEQA Lawsuit against City of Agoura Hills
Friday, April 20th, at 3:38 pm California Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant issued a Writ of Mandate commanding the City of Agoura Hills to set aside the City of Agoura Hill’s approval of the Agoura Village Specific Plan, the environmental impact report, and the zoning amendment. If the City plans to go forward with the project, “the City must prepare biological plant and animal surveys in order to properly address the environmental impact” (page 17 of 26 page ruling). The City will also need “expert support for replanting of sensitive plant species as proper mitigation” (page 21 of ruling). The City also needs to have more complete discussions of alternatives to the project (page 26 of ruling).
“Agoura Village” is a controversial project of 135 acres encompassing a portion of Ladyface Mountain near the corner of Kanan and Agoura Road near the 101 freeway. The City planned to put a round-about on the corner of Kanan and Agoura Roads, up to 293 residential units with no limit of square footage, and about 950,000 square feet of new and redeveloped commercial development. Originally “Agoura Village” had been intended to be environmentally friendly mixed-use development showcasing this pristine area as the “Gateway to the Santa Monica Mountains.”
Mary Altmann, a concerned citizen, filed a lawsuit pro-per July 2006 opposing the Agoura Village Plan. She founded a group called “Citizens for Sensitive Development” in 2006 to challenge the development. Cost estimates from experienced attorneys to file the lawsuit challenging a program EIR were astronomical, so she studied, researched, and filed her own lawsuit, representing herself challenging the City. If unsuccessful, the court could have required her to bear the burden of the City’s attorney’s fees.
“I am thankful for our justice system, and that justice prevailed in this case. I am aware of other improprieties of the City of Agoura not following the California Environmental Quality Act, and am happy they will be commanded to follow the law this time” stated Ms. Altmann.