Sierra Club loses Oceano Dunes case on appeal
January 10, 2012
By KAREN VELIE
The local chapter of the Sierra Club lost its appeal on Monday to force off-road vehicles from a portion of the Oceano Dunes that the state rents from San Luis Obispo County.
In 2008, the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit claiming vehicles should be banned from the state’s vehicular recreation area’s 584-acre La Grande Tract. The club argued that the County’s Coastal Plan Map lists it as a buffer zone which means vehicles are banned. Superior Court Judge Charles Crandall ruled that it was too late for the Sierra Club to mount a challenge.
Not only did the Second Appellate Court uphold Crandall’s decision that it is to late to fight the state’s 1982 Coastal Development Permit, the appellate court also determined that having the area dubbed a buffer zone does not mean that off-road vehicles should be prohibited.
“Despite two pleading attempts, Sierra Club has failed to allege that State Parks has a clear and present ministerial duty to ban off-highway-vehicle activities on the La Grande Tract,” the appellate court decision says. “Sierra Club is barred from collaterally attacking the 1982 Coastal Development Permit by suing for mandamus, declaratory, or equitable relief.”
The court also ordered the Sierra Club to pay cost and certified the appellate court’s unanimous agreement for publication.