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City, homeowner exchange lawsuits over tennis court

Posted: August 9, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 9, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

Tennis courts erected in the Happy Valley area of Newhall about a year ago are the subject of two lawsuits filed recently — one filed by a homeowner against the city and the other filed by the city against the tennis court property owner.


Neighbors have complained about the tennis/volleyball court in the large backyard of an Eighth Street home, saying its fences are too high and lights too bright.


Both the city and nearby homeowners allege that the property owner’s grandson, David Schwartz, has been running tennis lessons out of the property, a violation of land-use restrictions.


Rudy Losorelli lives directly behind the property on Burr Court and has filed a lawsuit against Santa Clarita for allegedly failing to enforce the conditions of its site plan for the property.


“We call ourselves prisoners of the Happy Valley correctional center,” Losorelli said Wednesday, adding that he is unable to sell his home without taking a huge loss.


The Losorellis filed a suit in June. About a month later, the city sued the tennis court property’s owner, Sonia Klein, and her family members. The suit claims they violated the city’s municipal code and the property is a public nuisance.


“We believe that we will quickly resolve any remaining issues with the city that protects the city, Ms. Klein, the owner of the property, and the neighbors to ensure that they’re not negatively impacted by this legal tennis court,” said Hunt Braly, Schwartz’s attorney.


According to the lawsuit filed by Santa Clarita, site plans approved for the property called for maximum 15-foot-high light fixtures with so-called “spillage control,” or hoods, to keep the light out of neighbors’ yards. The plans also called for a maximum 10-foot-high chain link fence with fabric netting and a maximum 6-foot-high fence in the rear yard.


Instead, the property has a 10-foot-high fence in the rear yard, outdoor tennis lights were not placed in the designated places, and the lights lack “spillage control,” according to the lawsuit filed by the city.


In their lawsuit, Rudy and Tracey Losorelli said they suffered damage caused by the lights shining brightly on neighboring properties, noise from alleged commercial tennis lessons at the property, damage from tennis balls being hit into their backyard, emotional and physical distress, drainage issues causing flooding along their back fence and damages from the fence being too tall.


The couple is asking for payment for damages caused by flooding, loss of use of their backyard, loss of use of the quiet enjoyment of their property, special and general damages and the costs of the suit.


Real estate agents have estimated the Losorelli home has lost $175,000 to $200,000 in value due to the issue, Rudy Losorelli said.


“We’ve lost all our equity to them,” Losorelli said. “Not to the market; to the city.”

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