A 4 year dispute between Penn Valley property owners Juliet Erickson and Peter Lockyer, and Nevada County is far from over. Disagreement between the two parties originally started with construction of a cell tower adjacent to the Lockyer’s property that they objected to. That suit was settled in favor of the county. The latest dispute is over a deed restriction that the Lockyers must maintain some trees to screen an office and garage structure that they want to build on the ridge line of their land, and that they record and notice for future owners of the property that they are required to continue to maintain some trees. At a Dec. 19th hearing Judge Dowling had a tentative decision to rule for the County. Then on New Year’s eve Judge Dowling released a decision granting a writ compelling the county to give the Lockyers what they wanted which was a building permit without a condition that they record notice to future owners about the trees. This week Nevada County’s attorney, Michael Colantuono moved for a post trial remedy with respect to that order and asking judge Anderson, who has taken over the case for the retired Judge Dowling, to consider if Judge Dowling should have made that order. Colantuono says there are two issues.
Colantuono says the Lockyers have promised to maintain some trees, but they don’t want to give notice of that promise and it’s not clear if they want to keep that promise.
Colantuono says the Lockyers are also asking that the county should have to pay their attorney fees of nearly a million dollars.
The next court date for the case is February 20th .
Another issue for the County is how much this legal battle is costing. At the Nevada County Board of Supervisors meeting January 20, Penn Valley Resident Bob Plaas was one of three speakers urging the county to settle and stop throwing money into this legal battle.
click here to listen to Bob Plass
Supervisors vote 4 -1 with Supervisor Anderson dissenting, to approve an additional $175,000 in attorney fees for Mr. Colantuono to continue representing the County in the case.
Attorney for the Lockyers, Allan Haley, could not be reached for comment.