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Ventura County’s Lawsuit Against Moorpark Over Beach Project Being Transferred to Another County

Posted on May 16, 2016

By Mike Harris, Ventura County Star

A lawsuit filed by Ventura County and Fillmore against Moorpark and the Malibu Broad Beach replenishment project is being transferred to another county.

All the parties have stipulated to a change of venue for the suit, which was filed in April in Ventura County Superior Court, County Counsel Leroy Smith said Tuesday.

According to the California Code of Civil Procedure, “actions brought by a county against a city or other public agency may be tried in any county not a party to the lawsuit, which excludes the county of Ventura as a proper venue.”

Which county the lawsuit will be transferred to hasn’t been determined, Smith said. It will be decided through the state Judicial Council, the policymaking body of the California courts, he said.

But it won’t be Los Angeles County, because that’s the location of the Broad Beach Geologic Hazard Abatement District, the group of landowners, including Hollywood and business elites, which is funding the $31 million restoration project.

The lawsuit was filed over an agreement between Moorpark and the district for hundreds of sand trucks a day to avoid Moorpark when traveling to the beach. The suit contends the agreement, which would send the trucks from quarries in Grimes Canyon through Fillmore, Ventura, Oxnard and unincorporated areas, is illegal.

Moorpark City Attorney Kevin Ennis disagrees, saying the agreement is a lawful one aimed at protecting Moorpark residents from the environmental impacts of the trucks. But other parts of the county don’t want the trucks rumbling through their streets either.

Meanwhile, because of the controversy over the truck route agreement, including the lawsuit, the district continues to look for other sand sources both in and outside Ventura County, said the district’s attorney, Ken Ehrlich.

“As long as this matter is in litigation, it’s tough for us to figure out a way to be able to use this quarry sand and meet our schedule,” he said. “So we’re incentivized to find some other viable sources.”

The search could delay the project’s timetable for the sand trucks to start rolling to the beach.

Before the lawsuit was filed, Ehrlich had said he hoped that would be by the fall, whatever the source of sand is. On Tuesday, he said it might not be until early 2017.

“But at this point, we’re doing everything we can to maintain the current schedule,” he said.

Source: Ventura County Star

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