The Plumas County Superior Court has determined that the failure of Plumas County to prepare an Environmental Impact Report for the McMorrow Subdivision was negligent when stream bank failure on Spanish Creek was a known risk. On December 13, 2010 a final judgment on the McMorrow Subdivision was issued. The peremptory writ of mandate requires preparation of a detailed engineering study of the stability of the entrenchment bank of Spanish Creek within the subdivision, and adoption of all mitigation measures identified before issuance of any building permits on the property.
“Obviously, we are pleased the court agreed the County is obligated to investigate and mitigate the danger presented by stream bank failure before approving a project. We are disappointed; however, that so much public money had to be expended to convince the County to act upon its legal duty,” said Stevee Duber, project manager for HSRA.
Despite being in possession of a study detailing the threat of stream bank failure before the subdivision was proposed, the County approved a project which would have located septic systems and allowed construction of homes directly on top of a stream bank with a high probability of failure. Throughout the approval process, and in keeping with the Plumas County General Plan, HSRA requested an engineering study be performed to determine how to minimize potential risk. The Court’s action finally enforces that requirement.
"Had the engineering study been done as required by the County’s General Plan, there would not have been a lawsuit,” Duber continued. "But without legal action, a hazardous situation, where homes and septic could end up in Spanish Creek, would have been unnecessarily created. The engineering study is a small expense for the developer compared to the risk involved and the waste of taxpayer money the County has spent trying to sidestep its own land use laws.”