Appeals court grants writ of mandate in construction permit case

By Nicholas Gueguen | Apr 20, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — The California First District Court of Appeal recently granted a plaintiff's petition for a writ of mandate and ordered "the trial court to vacate its order sustaining the Hearing Board’s demurrer" in Grist Creek Aggregates LLC vs. the Superior Court of Mondecino County and Mendocino County Air Quality Management District, et al.

In its April 6 decision, the appeals court also ordered the Mendocino County Superior Court to "to reconsider the merits of Grist Creek’s demurrer in light of this opinion as well as this court’s opinion in Friends of Outlet Creek v. Mendocino County Air Quality Management District et al."

According to the appeals court decision, "the lawsuit underlying this writ proceeding is one of several legal actions challenging, on environmental and other grounds, Grist Creek’s construction and operation of the asphalt facility." 

The appeals court said that Friends had appealed a split decision by the Hearing Board on who should be awarded a construction permit. 

"Four board members participated in the appeal after Friends objected to the fifth member’s participation because he previously had worked for Grist Creek," according to court documents. The hearing board let the parties know on April 5, 2016 that it had a 2-2 vote and could not "make a decision" and would not have any future hearings on the matter. 

Friends of Outlet Creek then filed a complaint, alleging that Grist Creek had failed to conduct an environmental impact study and that the board violated the California Environmental Quality Act by taking no action.

According to the appeals court decision, "Friends filed a petition for writ of mandate in the trial court against the district, the air pollution control officer, the Hearing Board and Grist Creek, seeking to set aside the November [construction permit]."

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