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Reverge Anselmo and Seven Hills Land and v. Russ Mull

October 24, 2012

REVERGE ANSELMO AND SEVEN HILLS LAND AND CATTLE COMPANY, LLC, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
RUSS MULL, LESLIE MORGAN, A SHASTA COUNTY ASSESSOR-RECORDER, COUNTY OF SHASTA, BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF THE COUNTY OF SHASTA, LES BAUGH AND GLEN HAWES, DEFENDANTS. COUNTY OF SHASTA, AND COUNTY OF SHASTA, FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, CROSS-COMPLAINANT,
v.
REVERGE ANSELMO; SEVEN HILLS LAND AND CATTLE COMPANY LLC; NANCY HALEY; MATTHEW RABE; MATTHEW KELLEY; ANDREW JENSEN; AND ROES 1 THRU 50, CROSS-DEFENDANTS.



ORDER RE: MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

Defendant and cross-plaintiff Shasta County seeks a preliminary injunction relating to its cross-claims for nuisance per se against plaintiffs and cross-defendants Reverge Anselmo and Seven Hills Land and Cattle Company based on plaintiffs' activities on their property located in Shasta County.

I. Factual and Procedural

Background Plaintiffs initiated this action in state court against defendants Shasta County, the Board of Supervisors of the County of Shasta, and Shasta County officials Russ Mull, Leslie Morgan, Les Baugh, and Glen Hawes. In their Third Amended Complaint, plaintiffs allege claims against Shasta County and its employees under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiffs' claims arise from defendants' alleged wrongful interference with plaintiffs' use of two pieces of real property. The first is a 670-acre ranching property identified by assessor's parcel numbers ("APN") 093-260-025, 093-260-024, and 093-260-023 ("ranch property"), and the second is a 1,500-acre property where plaintiffs operate Anselmo Vineyards, located at 28740 Inwood Road in Shingletown, APN 094-050-021 ("winery property").

Plaintiffs' winery property is located in a Shasta County land use zone designated "Exclusive Agricultural" and is also approved for an "Agricultural Preserve," which allows the landowners to apply for a Williamson Act contract with the state. (Simon Decl. ¶ 5 (Docket No. 50-17).) Under the Williamson Act, cities and counties may enter into contracts with land owners of qualified property to retain the agricultural, recreational, or open-space use of the land in exchange for lower property tax assessments. See Cal. Gov't Code § 51200 et seq. Plaintiffs received a Williamson Act contract for the winery property in 2006, but filed a notice of Non-Renewal for a 7.5-acre portion of the winery property on April 24, 2008. (Simon Decl. ¶¶ 5, 15, & Ex. 14; Mull Decl. Ex. 6 (Docket No. 50-13).) Shasta County also issued a use permit for plaintiffs to operate a "small winery" on the property and subsequently approved a conditional use permit allowing plaintiffs to operate a "medium winery" on the property. (Simon Decl. ¶¶ 4, 6, 8.)

In their Third Amended Complaint, plaintiffs allege that county officials engaged in a variety of wrongful conduct that interfered with plaintiffs' use of their property, such as issuing wrongful notices of grading violations, filing false reports with various officials and agencies, requiring an unnecessary environmental impact study, and interfering with plaintiffs' development of their winery. (Third Am. Compl. ¶¶ 23, 27, 30, 40, 44-58) (Docket No. 1, Ex. B).)

While the case was still pending in state court, Shasta County initiated cross-claims for nuisance per se against plaintiffs. Shasta County's nuisance per se claims are based on plaintiffs' grading on their ranch property and construction or conversion of structures on their winery property. Shasta County specifically requests the court to enter injunctions against plaintiffs on the following six alleged nuisances per se:

(1) plaintiffs' grading on the ranch property without a grading permit and plaintiffs' farming operations on the ranch property;

(2) plaintiffs' construction, use, and occupancy of an entertainment event tent on the winery property without a building permit or certificate of occupancy;

(3) plaintiffs' conversion, use, and occupancy of a horse barn for winery offices on the winery property without a building permit or certificate of occupancy;

(4) plaintiffs' construction, use, and occupancy of a part of their winery structure that was converted into a restaurant and dining room without a required building permit, use permit, zone amendment, or certificate of occupancy, and without required access and parking for disabled persons pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12183, ("ADA");

(5) plaintiffs' construction, use, and occupancy of a wood structure on the winery property without a required building permit or certificate of occupancy; and

(6) plaintiffs' construction, use, and occupancy of a chapel on the winery property without a required building permit, use permit, zone amendment, or certificate of occupancy, and without required access for disabled persons pursuant to the ADA.

In opposing Shasta County's motion for a preliminary injunction, plaintiffs expend a great amount of time rehashing arguments the court rejected in its October 11, 2012 Order and thus the court will not address those arguments a second time. The court will also not address plaintiffs' procedurally improper and unnecessary request for sanctions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 against Shasta County.

II. Discussion

To succeed on a motion for a preliminary ...


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