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Kirkorowicz v. California Coastal Comm'n

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20168
Nos. No. D034287, 100 Cal. Rptr. 2d 124/(Cal. Ct. App., 08/22/2000)

The court reverses a trial court decision ordering the California Coastal Commission to set aside its denial of landowners' request for a coastal development permit to expand horse stables and boarding facilities on their property and to rehear the matter to determine whether the property included protected wetlands. The trial court determined that the permit denial was erroneous because no evidence supported the conclusion that the property at issue involved a wetland. The court first holds, however, that the record contains substantial evidence that wetlands exist on the proposed project site. The area the landowners intend to fill is covered periodically with shallow water, is marked by the presence of hydrophites, and was identified by the city's consulting biologist as wetlands. Additionally, the biologist's methodology comported with the Unified Federal Method for wetlands delineation, utilizing an on-site procedural wetlands delineation method supplemented by disturbed area wetland determination procedures. Further, whether the property constitutes marginal degraded wetlands is irrelevant because the California Coastal Act does not distinguish between wetlands according to their quality.

The full text of this decision is available from ELR (25 pp., ELR Order No. L-286).

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Donald R. Worley
Stephenson, Worley, Garratt, Schwartz, Garfield & Prairie
401 B St., Ste. 2400, San Diego CA 92101
(619) 696-3500

Counsel for Defendant
Richard Frank, Chief Ass't Attorney General
Attorney General's Office
110 W. 'A' St., Ste. 1100, San Diego CA 92186
(619) 645-2001