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Home » Santa Clarita News » California Supreme Court To Review Newhall Land Development Decision
California Supreme Court To Review Newhall Land Development Decision

California Supreme Court To Review Newhall Land Development Decision

The California Supreme Court has agreed to review the Appellate Court’s March ruling in favor of Newhall Land and Farming and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in a lawsuit regarding environmental reports for a 20,000 unit development project in the Santa Clarita Valley, officials announced Saturday.

The ruling unanimously reversed Judge Ann Jones’ 2012 judgment in favor of the plaintiffs– which includes the Center for Biological Diversity and the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment, or SCOPE –and allowed the Santa Clara River Alteration Permit for the project to proceed. Newhall Land's headquarters in Valencia.

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“We’re really pleased,” said Lynne Plambeck, president of SCOPE. “You never can predict the ultimate decision from the court, but it is likely that they were concerned about the Appellate Court’s decision or they wouldn’t have decided to hear it.”

Related Court Rules In Favor Of Newhall Land For Santa Clarita Valley Development

Three areas of the decision are set to be revisited, including how impacts to endangered species and global warming were determined, officials said.

The ruling cited the plaintiff’s arguments and noted several of them lack merit.

“The appellate court’s reversal of the trial court’s decision is validation of years of hard work on environmental documents and subsequent permits,” Jordan Traverso, spokeswoman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said in an earlier interview. “We always work meticulously to ensure documents and permits such as these are sound. We especially do so on a project of this magnitude.”

SCOPE is one of five environmental groups that challenged the permit, which would allow for the construction of 20,000 homes in the Santa Clarita Valley near Highway 126 and the Santa Clara River, in January 2011 due to environmental concern about water supply and species protection.

“We felt that the Appellate Court decision, particularly on greenhouse gases, was just something that was not going to encourage the kind of planning that we need to change where we’re going,” Plambeck said. “We’re hoping that they (the Supreme Court) will establish a legitimate baseline for the project, send it back and require further mitigation.”

Newhall Land officials were not available for comment as of Saturday afternoon.

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California Supreme Court To Review Newhall Land Development Decision

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About Melissa Lampert

Melissa became a staff writer at KHTS AM-1220 following her internship in the newsroom. She has been writing news and feature stories for the KHTS website since February 2014. Melissa is also a part-time staff writer at the Santa Clarita Gazette weekly newspaper and Canyon Country Magazine. After receiving her bachelor's degree in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Melissa moved back to Santa Clarita to begin her professional writing career. She has published feature stories in "The Signal" newspaper and College of the Canyons' "Cougar News" and formerly worked as a freelance animal welfare writer for an online publication. She recently finished writing her first fiction novel and hopes to publish it someday.
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