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UPDATED: Officials hope to breathe life back into Las Lomas

Plan to file appeal to allow for construction

Posted: January 16, 2009 9:17 p.m.
Updated: January 17, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Las Lomas Land Company, LLC company lawyers announced Friday they will appeal a Superior Court ruling that snuffed construction of 5,500 houses into the hilly terrain that straddles the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys.

It was the second time in 2008 a judge's ruling snuffed the ambitious project.

Superior Court Judge David P. Yaffe threw out a Los Lomas lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles for issuing a stop-work order on the Las Lomas project in March.

"Of course we think it's a good idea," Las Lomas spokesman Edward Park said Friday. "Otherwise we wouldn't have proceeded with it in the first place."

In December, Yaffe ruled Las Lomas could not proceed with its current complaint against Los Angeles alleging the City Council acted unlawfully in March when it halted the environmental review process, for what company officials call "arbitrary and discriminatory reasons."

With the filing of the next appeal, the appellate court will determine whether the suit may proceed, a Las Lomas lawyer said in a prepared statement issued Friday.

"We were disappointed in the court's decision for ourselves, for the residents of Southern California and for all those who recognize that the city council broke the law," said Carlyle W. Hall Jr., counsel for Las Lomas.
The damages in this case could exceed $100 million, Hall said.

Company officials, with head offices in Beverly Hills, call "the smart community" of Las Lomas "the northern gateway to the San Fernando Valley."

They claim the project will create 9,000 direct jobs, 22,000 indirect jobs, more than 1,300 construction jobs and $1.3 billion in annual wages. The smart growth community will add $22 million per year in Los Angeles city general fund revenue.

In December, on the day before the court tossed out his lawsuit, Las Lomas land developer Dan Palmer resigned as president of the Las Lomas Land Company for "personal reasons."

In March, after Smith introduced his motion, Los Angeles City Council voted 10-5 to stop any further work on the Las Lomas project.

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