◼ Coastal Commission director says Marina Center lawsuits are frivolous
The executive director of the California Coastal Commission responded Thursday to a pair of lawsuits challenging the commission's authority to hear an appeal of a preliminary cleanup plan for the proposed Marina Center development, calling the suits “frivolous.”
The Pacific Legal Foundation, which is representing the freshly formed Citizens for a Better Eureka, and the project developer both recently filed lawsuits in Humboldt County Superior Court alleging that the commission overstepped its legal authority.
The suits center around the commission's Dec. 10 decision to hear an appeal of a coastal development permit issued by the city of Eureka. The permit cleared the way for CUE VI, a subsidiary of Security National, to begin a preliminary clean up of the contaminated Balloon Track property.
The property, which sits at the foot of Eureka's downtown commercial district off of Waterfront Drive, is the site of a former rail yard, and CUE VI is proposing to turn it into a 43-acre mixed use development that will include retail, office and residential space, as well as an 11-acre wetland reserve.
Proponents of the cleanup and the developer allege in the lawsuits that the Coastal Commission had no authority to take up the appeal. Supporters argue that the commission can't legally take an action that runs counter to a water quality ruling made by the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. The board had approved the cleanup plan -- known as a supplemental interim remedial action plan -- before it came to the City Council.
They further argue that the commission has no jurisdiction over the city's power to abate a public nuisance, which the property was officially labeled when the city issued the coastal development permit in November.
Calling the commission's intervention a “flagrant abuse of power” and charging that it puts public safety at risk, Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Damien Schiff said Tuesday that the commission's only legal obligation is to “butt out.”
On Thursday, commission Executive Director Peter Douglas said simply that he thinks CUE VI and the Pacific Legal Foundation have no case.
”We totally disagree with them,” Douglas said in a phone interview. “I think it's a frivolous lawsuit, but it's typical. It's what we see all the time from the Pacific Legal Foundation.
”Clearly, we have jurisdiction,” Douglas continued, “but if they want to waste public resources ... they have a right to go to court. That's kind of the nature of our system.”
Yeah. It is pretty sad that it has come to this. It's even sadder that the predatory litigious groups who have led us to this point are continually brought in to important issues like the Klamath Agreement and the MLPA as "stakeholders." Then after sitting at the table participating in the negotiations that result in an agreement, they turn around and sue anyway.
What's sad is that those same predatory litigious groups are allowed to make their living extorting 'go-away' money from businesses up and down the state, and around the nation.
In this case, the target, Rob Arkley, has taken a stand and refused to pay the protection money. It's gotten ugly.
And this time, a citizens's group has arisen to fight the multi-headed groups of the EPIC/ERF/Paykeeper sort. Even using their own weapon of choice. A lawsuit.
◼ from the comments:
reader said Fisrt(sp) of all why doesn't Peter Douglas's name appear within the first paragraph so he can receive the name recognition he deserves.
Secondly why is the executive director opening his mouth regarding pending litigation.
Thirdly Mister Douglas states: "Clearly, we have jurisdiction," Douglas continued, "but if they want to waste public resources ... they have a right to go to court. That's kind of the nature of our system."
Well now there is an accurate statement: "but if they want to waste public resources..."
Mister Douglas was merely projecting HIS reality. The California Coastal Commission has been wasting public resources since 1972.
They have become an out of control behemoth.
Mister Douglas must feel threatened by the PLF's action. Otherwise he would have kept his mouth shut like he should as an executive director of a quasi-public agency.
ACE wrote: The biggest mistake Arkley et al made with this project is they tailored a clean-up to suit the development. If they had just characterized the site correctly, separated the clean-up, and then unveiled the plans for the development they would have had an easier time with the coastal commission. The phased nature and "customizing" the clean-up around the big-box etc., was doomed from the beginning. As much as I'd like to see the property developed, CUE IV is going to lose this one. Too Bad.
I disagree. His biggest mistake was to let Pierson pay Neely more money than he did.
Penny wise, pound foolish.