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People ex rel. Younger v. El Dorado, County of

Citation: 9 ELR 20714
No. No. 3-Civ.-17987, 157 Cal. Rptr. 815/13 ERC 2101/(Cal. Ct. App., 08/27/1979)

The court strikes down a municipal ordinance banning from a portion of the south fork of the American River all activity other than swimming without the assistance of artificial means. The court finds that although the ordinance had the legitimate aim of eliminating serious problems of litter and other forms of pollution caused by recreational users of the river, it goes too far by prohibiting all current recreational uses. Such an extreme measure runs afoul of article X, § 4 of the California Constitution, which establishes a public right of access to navigable streams. Nor is the legislation authorized by § 660 of the state Harbors and Navigation Code, which limits the powers of municipalities to enactment of time-of-day restrictions, speed zones, special-use areas, and sanitation and pollution control measures. The case is remanded with an order to enter an injunction against enforcement of the ordinance.

Counsel for Appellants
George Deukmejian, Attorney General; N. Gregory Taylor, Jan Stevens, Ass't Attorneys General; Richard M. Frank, Deputy Attorney General
555 Capitol Mall, Suite 350, Sacramento CA 95814
(916) 445-9555

Counsel for Respondents
Noble Sprunger, County Counsel
2580 Cold Springs Rd., Placerville CA 95667
(916) 626-2311

Edward J. Tiedemann, Janet K. Goldsmith
Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard
555 Capitol Mall, No. 855, Sacramento CA 95814
(916) 444-8920

Counsel for Intervenors-Appellants William Center and American River Recreation Ass'n
R. Frederic Fisher, Harry Pfiefer
Lillick, McHose & Charles
2 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco CA 94111
(415) 421-4600

Paras, J. (joined by Regan and Reynoso, JJ.)