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Couple Sues County to Allow Malibu Subdivision

July 09, 1987|JILL STEWART | Times Staff Writer

Calvin and Barbara Barginear, an Agoura couple who have plunged heavily into debt while waging a seven-year zoning battle over the right to develop 36 acres of Malibu land, have filed suit against the county in Los Angeles Superior Court.

In the suit filed July 1, the Barginears are asking a judge to approve a subdivision map that allows them to create 24 lots on their land on Latigo Canyon Road.

Their dispute with the county dates back to 1980, when the couple was granted tentative approval for a 12-lot subdivision by the county Regional Planning Commission. After that, their case became mired in red tape and the subdivision was never granted final approval by the county.

The Barginears, who have incurred more than $1 million in debts while waging the zoning battle and recently lost their Malibu Auto Supplies business, say they face financial ruin unless they are allowed to develop 24 lots on the land.

Attorneys for the Barginears claim that the county should approve the 24 lots, twice as many as originally included on the 1980 map, because county planners drew a road through the center of the map that cuts each lot in half.

Cheryl Keith, a Lawndale attorney representing the family, said that the road automatically constitutes a new property line.

Keith said that no recorded case law exists that spells out whether a road drawn through a subdivision map creates a new property line. Instead, she said, she is relying on a 1973 opinion by the state attorney general.

The county is "saying no and we're saying yes and neither side is willing to move, so we're asking a judge to decide it," said Keith.

Charles Moore, a county counsel who has been involved in the complex dispute in recent years, has contended that the road does not cut each lot into two. Moore could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit.

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