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L.A. Supervisors Decide to Sue Ventura County Over Project

January 15, 2003|From Times Staff Writers

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to challenge the proposed Ahmanson Ranch development by suing Ventura County and its supervisors.

With little discussion, the Los Angeles supervisors instructed the county's lawyers to file the lawsuit. Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who represents the west San Fernando Valley and proposed the suit, said Ventura County supervisors "rushed to judgment" last month when they moved the long-delayed project closer to groundbreaking by approving a supplemental environmental study.

Los Angeles County maintains that the study was inadequate, underestimating the traffic that a new 8,000-person community would produce on the area's roads and freeways. The cities of Los Angeles, Calabasas and Agoura Hills also plan to file suit against the 3,050-home development.

Since Ventura County initially approved the $2-billion project in 1992, Ahmanson Ranch's opponents have repeatedly failed in court -- but succeeded in delaying construction. An attorney for the developer, Washington Mutual Bank, said it would be wiser for Los Angeles County to spend its money on "something that would provide some benefit to its citizens."

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