Legal procedures begin on Martis lawsuit appeal |

Legal procedures begin on Martis lawsuit appeal

David Bunker

TRUCKEE – More legal briefs are expected to pile up this week in the legal wrangling over development plans for the Martis Valley.

Opening briefs on the appeal of the lawsuit that deemed Placer County’s plans for the Martis Valley illegal last year are due on Thursday.

Placer County and three Martis Valley property owners are expected to make their case about the legitimacy of development plans that allowed for thousands of new homes, several golf courses and the widening of Highway 267 to four lanes in the Martis Valley. Sierra Pacific Industries, DMB Highlands Group and East West Partners are the land owners that have joined the county’s appeal.

The conservation groups that won in the land use lawsuit in May of last year will have more than a month to respond to the county’s arguments. The case likely will not go to a panel of three judges at the court of appeals until late this year, said Richard Taylor, an attorney for Sierra Watch, the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation and other conservation groups.

Meanwhile Placer County, prospective developers and the conservation groups continue to work on negotiating a compromise to the Martis Valley lawsuit and lawsuits against individual development plans Siller Ranch and Hopkins Ranch.

Although state law requires cursory settlement talks in a California Environmental Quality Act lawsuit, the parties have continued talking beyond the required settlement talks, Taylor said.

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“State law does not require you to keep talking,” he said. “In this case everybody wants to keep talking.” Opening briefs have yet to be filed in the Siller Ranch lawsuit, said Taylor. In the Hopkins Ranch lawsuit, all the briefs are in but no court date has been determined.

“Everybody is negotiating for a good solution,” he said.