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DANA POINT : Court Rejects New Hearing on Petition

September 02, 1993|LEN HALL

A state appeals court has refused to grant a new hearing for a local citizens' group whose petition seeking a referendum on Dana Point's General Plan had been found invalid.

The 4th District Court of Appeal would not agree to reconsider its recent unanimous decision that the Dana Point Action Coalition's petition needed an attached copy of the plan to be valid.

Members of the coalition said Wednesday they will now ask the state Supreme Court to hear their case. They have until Sept. 9 to submit arguments to the court, said Ernie Nelson, a coalition member.

"The lawyers are in the process of writing their argument to the Supreme Court," Nelson said. "We figured that we would not get a favorable response from the appellate court. We still feel we have a case, according to our attorneys who believe we have a case."

Nelson said the attorneys handling the case for the coalition, who are working for free, insist the right to a referendum has been denied.

"Our attorneys feel strongly that the right of referendum is not a granted power. This is our right by law . . . and it's being stymied," Nelson said.

The group and the city have been at odds since the General Plan was passed unanimously by the City Council in July, 1991.

The coalition contends the plan is pro-development and will radically alter the coastal city's small-town atmosphere. The plan's supporters, including the majority of the council members, insist the coalition is misguided and should challenge parts of the plan instead of the entire document.

The group circulated petitions calling for a citywide vote on the plan, but the battle moved to the courts when the city clerk declared the petitions invalid because a copy of the plan was not included.

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