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The Otay Ranch, L.P. v. County of San Diego

California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, First Division

September 29, 2014

THE OTAY RANCH, L.P. et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants,
v.
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO, Defendant and Respondent; FLAT ROCK LAND COMPANY, LLC, Real Party in Interest and Respondent.

[CERTIFIED FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION[*]]

APPEAL from an order and judgment of the Superior Court of San Diego County, No. 37-2012-00083418- CU-WM-CTL Timothy B. Taylor, Judge.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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COUNSEL

Gatzke Dillon & Ballance, Mark J. Dillon, Stephen F. Tee and Stephen A. Sunseri, for Plaintiffs and Appellants.

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Caldarelli Hejmanowski & Page and Marisa Janine-Page, for Defendant and Respondent.

OPINION

McCONNELL, P. J.

INTRODUCTION

The primary issue in this appeal is whether, after a voluntary dismissal of a petition for writ of mandate, the trial court erred by allowing the County of San Diego (the County) to recover actual labor costs incurred for an attorney and paralegals to prepare an administrative record. Finding no error, we affirm the order and judgment.

Preliminarily, however, we dismiss the appeals of The Otay Ranch, L.P. (Otay Ranch), a cancelled limited partnership, and Sky Communities, Inc. (Sky Communities), a suspended corporation, for lack of capacity. We deny the motion to dismiss the appeal of the remaining appellant, Sky Vista, Inc. (Sky Vista), which is an active corporation.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

A

The County approved a "Remedial Action Plan" (RAP) for a remediation project at the former Otay Skeet and Trap Shooting Range (Project) in Chula Vista, California, and adopted a "Final Mitigated Negative Declaration" (MND) on September 12, 2012. The Project involved "investigation and remediation of surface and subsurface areas impacted from historic shooting range activities" and included "remediation of soil impacted by lead and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), removal of 'White Material['], as well as the removal of target debris and wood debris from the site."

The Otay Ranch, Sky Communities, and Sky Vista (collectively, Otay Ranch parties) are the former owners of the shooting range. They filed a petition for writ of mandate in October 2012 alleging the County (1) did not comply with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (Pub. Resources Code, § 21000 et seq.) when it approved and adopted the MND and RAP without preparing an environmental impact report and (2) did not comply with Health and Safety Code section 25356.1 in approving the RAP. The Otay Ranch parties also sought declaratory and

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injunctive relief. Real party in interest, Flat Rock Land Company, LLC (Flat Rock), is the current owner of the shooting range property and project applicant, which is undertaking voluntary remediation of the site before future development.

B

The Otay Ranch parties elected to prepare the record of the proceedings, subject to certification of accuracy by the County. (Pub. Resources Code, § 21167.6, subd. (b)(2).) After the court denied the Otay Ranch parties' application for a temporary restraining order to halt the remediation work, the parties stipulated to extend the deadline for preparation and certification of the administrative record to the end of January 2013. The court set a briefing schedule and ordered a hearing date for July 12, 2013.

In January, the parties stipulated again to extend the deadline for certification of the record of proceedings to February 8, 2013, and later agreed to a further informal extension. The parties met on February 7, 2013, to discuss the proposed CEQA record. According to counsel for the County, over half of the documents listed in the proposed index were documents not properly part of the CEQA record and the index omitted hundreds of documents that ...


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