Lawsuit challenges Paso Robles groundwater ordinance
November 19, 2012
On behalf of a group of concerned landowners in Paso Robles, the Los Angeles based firm of Morris Polich & Purdy LLP (MPP) filed a lawsuit in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court on October 30. The writ challenges the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin Conservation Ordinance.
Adopted by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors on September 20, the ordinance restricts certain discretionary property development, prohibits certain land divisions and makes changes to the San Luis Obispo County General Plan, purportedly to save water. The board also deemed the ordinance to be categorically exempt from the strictures of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
“CEQA is supposed to work for everyone. The Board played fast and loose with its requirements. Our challenge is to assure fairness in the process in passing ordinances that effect the environment and the people of the community,” said Steven L. Hoch, an MPP partner. “You can’t decide to follow the rules sometimes and then not follow them for political expediency.”
Specifically, the writ claims that the board failed to take into account that the ordinance would produce many environmental impacts and was vague, ambiguous, incomplete and inadequate and that it improperly segmented, resulting in an improper, incomplete and inadequate “piecemeal” review of the potential impacts.
“We are attempting to convince the board that they made a mistake and hopefully reconsider the issue before the cost of their mistake takes too much out of the public’s coffers,” continued Mr. Hoch. “The funds are not coming out of the board’s pockets. Everyone in the county will have to pay for their error.”
Mr. Hoch is an environmental regulatory and litigation attorney who is a recognized authority and leader in his field with over 35 years of experience with both federal and state environmental laws and regulations.
Morris Polich & Purdy LLP is a law firm, with offices in Los Angeles, Irvine, San Diego, San Francisco and Las Vegas, that works with its clients on a national basis. They represent clients in every state, as well as many U.S. possessions, where their cases arise.