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Builder Suing Foes of Its Plan

A homeowners group whose petitions led to Garden Grove reversing its approval of a 14-home proposal is the target, as is the city.

October 02, 2003|David Reyes | Times Staff Writer

A Garden Grove homeowners group that has been battling a plan for upscale homes in its modest, World War II-era tract has been sued by the developer after the city rescinded its approval of the proposed project.

Stephen Raganold, chairman of the Central Garden Grove Neighborhood Assn., said he was dumbfounded by the lawsuit -- filed by Brandywine Development Corp., and the Gilbert Estates Group LLC -- because the referendum that the homeowners pushed was preempted when the City Council changed its mind.

Brandywine's lawsuit, filed Sept. 25, argues that a petition circulated by the homeowners to block construction of 14 homes with the referendum was procedurally invalid, because not every petition being circulated included the full text of a zoning-exemption ordinance being challenged.

Also listed as defendants are Garden Grove, the City Council and city clerk.

The homeowners group gathered more than 8,600 signatures calling for a public vote to block the project. But the City Council eliminated the need for an election when, two weeks ago, it rescinded its approval of Brandywine's project, which it granted in June.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday October 03, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 60 words Type of Material: Correction
Garden Grove housing -- An article in the Orange County Edition's California section Thursday incorrectly reported that a homeowners group had opposed revised plans for a tract of upscale homes in Garden Grove. The group, the Central Garden Grove Neighborhood Assn., opposed an earlier plan to build 14 houses but had not taken a stance on the reduced 12-home plan.

During the campaign, members of the homeowners group accused the city of giving the developer preferential treatment by approving a more densely designed project than allowed under city zoning rules.

Brandywine is now proposing to build 12 units, instead of 14, on 2.7 acres it owns near Gilbert Street and Lampson Avenue. The homeowners group also opposes that plan.

The scaled-back project does not require a zoning exemption, city officials said. It calls for four-bedroom, two-story houses of more than 3,200 to 3,400 square feet, selling for about $700,000.

The homeowners group has objected that building such large homes on lots that are smaller than the neighborhood norm would compromise the spacious character of the existing housing tract.

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