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Fresh Round of Legal Action for Sprawling Newhall Ranch

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Yet another lawsuit has been filed over Newhall Ranch, a proposed master community that would bring 21,000 homes and 60,000 new residents to an area near Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County. This time around, a group of environmental and Native American groups is suing the California Department of Fish and Game over permits issued to the project, which has been in the works for more than a decade. From the AP: "The coalition, which filed the suit in San Francisco County Superior Court, alleges that fish and game officials violated state environmental codes in granting permits Dec. 3 for the controversial Newhall Ranch development. 'It is appalling that the Department of Fish and Game, the trustee for all of California's wildlife, approved ecological destruction on this scale,' said John Buse, a senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the plaintiffs. 'Far less damaging options were available, but the department brushed them aside.""

A rep for the Department of Fish and Game tells the AP the group hasn't seen the suit yet. Over the years, various challenges have been filed over the project, while the original developer, LandSource Communities Development, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008. More of the backstory from the AP: "The bankruptcy caused CalPERS, the state employees' pension fund, to lose a $970 million investment in the company. The reorganized company, which includes a 15 percent holding by Miami-based building giant Lennar Corp., emerged from bankruptcy in 2009. Creditors filed a lawsuit in August alleging fraud in LandSource's $1.4 billion debt deals."

Given the proximity to LA County, the board of supervisors had to sign off on the deal, which they did in 2003 (but final construction approvals haven't been granted by the county yet, according to the AP.)
· Coalition sues state over Newhall Ranch permits [Mercury News]
· Another Round for Newhall Ranch [Curbed LA]