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Tejon Real Estate, LLC v. City of Los Angeles

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Fourth Division

January 22, 2014

TEJON REAL ESTATE, LLC, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
CITY OF LOS ANGELES, Defendant and Respondent.

Order Filed Date February 14, 2014

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles, Frederick County Super. Ct. No. BC485719 C. Shaller, Judge.

David M. Leeper for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Michael N. Feuer, City Attorney and Brian I. Cheng, Deputy City Attorney for Defendant and Respondent.

ORDER MODIFYING OPINION AND DENYING REHEARING

THE COURT:*

It is ordered that the opinion filed January 22, 2014 be modified as follows:

page 4, lines 3 to 10, delete the first three sentences of the first full paragraph, starting with the sentence that begins “Appellant quoted” and ending with the sentence “(Quoting DWP Rules, rule 15.A.6.c.)” and insert in its place the following:

Appellant quoted a DWP rule applicable to a water main extension “on an unimproved street[], not in a new subdivision, ” which was “not at... grade” level. The provision permitted DWP to charge the applicant “up to the full cost of any extension” under certain circumstances, including “‘[w]here[] in the opinion of the Chief Engineer of Water Works, the estimated revenue from the service to be provided does not justify the additional cost necessary for local distribution facilities.’” (Quoting DWP Rules, rule 15.A.6.c.) Appellant asserted that because the Harriman Avenue lot was at grade level this provision was inapplicable. Nevertheless, he relied on the language of the provision to assert that DWP could charge an applicant the cost of an extension only where all the conditions of the provision were met, including issuance of an opinion by the Chief Engineer of Water Works that “the estimated income from water use [did] not justify the cost that would be incurred by [DWP] for providing a water line.” (Emphasis omitted.)

page 9 to 10, delete the text of footnote 3 and replace it with the following:

In this regard, we note that appellant claimed the necessity of the fire hydrant and the appropriate water supply could not be resolved without a “‘determin[ation] by the [Fire] Chief’” whether alternate arrangements might satisfy the Fire Code. Appellant has not and cannot allege that it receive such a determination from the Fire Chief.

The petition for rehearing is denied. This modification does not change the judgment.

MANELLA, J.

Appellant Tejon Real Estate, LLC, the owner of a vacant lot in Los Angeles, contends the trial court erred in sustaining the demurrer of respondent City of Los Angeles (City) to appellant’s complaint and dismissing the underlying action. Appellant had engaged in discussions with City representatives concerning the conditions under which it could obtain an extension of water service to its lot, and whether installation of a fire hydrant would be required prior to building a residence. Having obtained informal opinions from City and Fire Department representatives concerning the cost of the water extension and the necessity of the hydrant, appellant initiated an action for declaratory relief, seeking interpretation of the Department of Water and Power Rules Governing Water and Electric Service (DWP Rules) and the Fire Code. We conclude an action for declaratory ...


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