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Court Ruling on a Right of Way

December 19, 1985

As one who protested formally through the Interstate Commerce Commission the terms of abandonment Santa Fe Railway tried to impose on Hermosa Beach when the railroad applied for abandonment (of its right of way) in June of 1982, I fully appreciated (the Dec. 12) South Bay section.

The review of the dimensions of this land-use argument by Dean Murphy is as comprehensive and clear as the aerial photo by Harry Chase. Land-use problems are graphic and quite evident.

I feel certain that the recent U.S. Supreme Court Decision in a Tennessee case, Williamson County Regional Planning Commission et al vs. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, influenced Santa Fe to drop their $15-million lawsuit against our city. The court said the bank had to exhaust all possible zoning appeals before filing a lawsuit. Matters of "allowable density" and "temporary regulatory interference with an investor's profit expectation" were considered by the high court in the decision. Due process was also considered.

The Williamson County vs. Hamilton Bank decision should encourage far more realistic expectations by Santa Fe and more respect for the rights of the community of people concerned with post-abandonment plans by Santa Fe. I hope that Santa Fe will now fully appreciate our open-space land as an integral part of the well-being of our community.

Surely the resources of a great railway corporation like Santa Fe are equal to providing a plan acceptable to the people of the communities affected by their plan.

The public interest was served when the Santa Fe Railroad operated the railway line as a passenger and freight carrier. The public interest must continue to be served even though Santa Fe has abandoned the railway line. They should not expect us to abandon open space vital to our community as the result of their abandonment of their spur line.

ETTA SIMPSON

Hermosa Beach

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