In a victory for residents hoping to restrict development in the Malibou Lake area of the Santa Monica Mountains, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge this week threw out most of a lawsuit challenging a county building ordinance, saying the legal action was premature.
The lawsuit filed in March against the state, Los Angeles County and the Malibou Lakeside Homeowners Assn. by Madeleine Drolet, who wants to develop her 5,600-square-foot lot near the lake, should have been filed only after the plaintiff exhausted administrative remedies, stated a ruling issued Thursday by Judge John Zebrowski.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in January lifted a ban on development near Malibou Lake and approved an ordinance requiring a rigorous planning review for most construction proposals instead. County officials touted the measure as an effort to balance the extreme fire hazard in the area with property owners' desire to build on their land.
Drolet's lawsuit stated, among other things, that she could not afford the review process, which can cost up to $4,000, her attorney, Samuel Reece, said Friday.