November 22, 2022
APPEAL FILED! Read the Appeal Brief HERE.
On May 6, 2022, VC CoLAB appealed the Superior Court ruling against our claim that the County violated CEQA law when they refused to conduct an environmental impact analysis before adopting the Wildlife Corridor Ordinance.
The Wildlife Corridor Ordinance restricts land use activities on properties inside the corridor map boundaries. Some of these restrictions include: requiring expensive and time-consuming discretionary permitting for non-manual vegetation removal; the type and height of fencing allowed; when and how bright outdoor lights you can have, and where you can build new structures like workshops, barns, and garages. These restrictions increase wildfire risk, impact agricultural operations and activities, and limit private property rights.
Earlier this month, our attorneys filed our appeal brief with the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Six.
What's next? The County will respond to our Opening Brief, and the Court will schedule the trial for the first half of 2023.
February 8, 2022
Dear CoLAB Members and Supporters –
This is not the notification we had hoped to post today. Late yesterday, we received the preliminary ruling (attached) from Judge Borrell on the Wildlife Corridor lawsuit. Unfortunately, it was not good news. The judge did not rule in our favor regarding the County’s failure to comply with CEQA. While we were not successful in overturning the wildlife corridor ordinance, we are exploring other potential strategies and options to help Ventura County landowners whose property rights are impacted by this ordinance. Stay tuned for additional information.
There are no words to express how deeply grateful we are for all your support over the last four years. We sincerely appreciate your personal activism, donations, and encouragement. It’s been a long battle – and you have stood and fought beside us the entire way. Please accept our heartfelt thanks and appreciation. We remain committed to fighting for you.
November 2021: Final Hearing completed
September 2021: Reply Brief filed!
We are nearing the end of the battle and our case is STRONG.
CoLAB's attorney's have filed our reply to the County's response. Most exciting - we've discovered NEW EVIDENCE in the form of new County records and quotes from the County Fire Chief that conflict with the County's 2019 claim that the Wildlife Corridor is not a wildfire hazard! support our argument that the Corridor is a wildfire hazard!
Read our reply brief HERE.
What happens next? The Judge will rule on our case - our final hearing is scheduled for November 9, 2021 in Ventura Superior Court.
August 2021: County Response Brief
The County has responded to our Opening Brief - and their argument is lacking! Here's a quick peek:
- The County had no real defense to counter our argument that the County was wrong to refuse to conduct environmental analysis of the Wildlife Corridor Ordinance before it was passed.
- The County had no real argument to oppose a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling supporting our argument that the Ordinance restrictions on fencing represent a Constitutional takings of private property because the property owner is denied the right to exclude intruders (Cedar Point Nursery vs. Hassid).
- The County proved our argument that the Ordinance was confusing and difficult to understand by MISQUOTING and mixing up the Ordinance brush removal language to the Judge.
Read the County's Response Brief HERE.
June 2021: Opening Brief filed in Ventura Superior Court
Read the Opening Brief HERE.
April 2021: HEARING DATE SET!!!!
On April 8, 2021 - nearly 2 years after filing our lawsuit - we finally have our hearing date!
- June 1, 2021: Deadline for CoLAB to file opening brief
- August 2, 2021: Deadline for County to file opposition briefs
- August 16, 2021: Deadline for Intervenors to file opposition briefs
- September 15, 2021: Deadline for CoLAB to file reply briefs,
- October 13, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.: Hearing on petition for writ of mandate
- Hearing date rescheduled to November 9, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.
HUGE THANK YOU TO ALL WHO HAVE DONATED TO THE WILDLIFE CORRIDOR LEGAL FUND
For more information and updates on the Wildlife Corridor Ordinance please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more technical information.
WHY YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT IS NEEDED -
On March 19, 2019, The Ventura County Board of Supervisors passed the Habitat Connectivity Ordinance. This poorly written, confusing and overly complicated ordinance effectively rezoned over 163,000 acres of (mostly privately owned) land. The restrictions in the Ordinance severely limit property owners' ability to secure and utilize their properties and add substantial barriers to property owners' ability to take steps to reduce wildfire risk.
The County refused to conduct any environmental analysis on the Ordinance. The County claimed unprecedented and unsupported EXEMPTIONS to the CEQA process. We are fighting back to protect our members and supporters from increased wildfire risk and other environmental impacts that the County refused to evaluate or consider.
Ventura County Wildlife Corridor Map Adopted 3-19-19
THE VC CoLAB LAWSUIT IS THE ONLY POSSIBLE OPTION TO NULLIFY THE ORDINANCE
The filing deadline for parties to challenge the whole of the ordinance has passed. The Board of Supervisors refused to create an administrative appeal process for property owners to challenge their properties being in the Corridor. The CoLAB lawsuit is the ONLY legal process to try to get the entire Corridor Ordinance overturned.
WE ARE IN IT TO WIN IT - WITH YOUR HELP!
For the lawsuit to be successful, VC CoLAB will need funding of $350,000 to $500,000
We need your help in funding the litigation effort quickly to be able to defend the lawsuit!
For those in the main corridor (HCWC) we are recommending a $5,000-$10,000 donation. For those in the Critical Wildlife Passage Areas (CWPA) we are recommending a $15,000 to 25,000 donation
All Donations are Strictly Confidential