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Disney suit against city dismissed

September 25, 2007|Dave McKibben | Times Staff Writer

A judge has dismissed the first of two Disney lawsuits that tried to block a controversial housing project in the Anaheim Resort District. Orange County Superior Court Judge Stephen J. Sunvold also ruled Monday that hearings in the second suit should be delayed until Anaheim voters decide the development's fate in a June election.

"There's no reason to spend time, money and action on this until the voters have their say," Anaheim City Atty. Jack White said.

Disney sued in February after the Anaheim City Council split on whether to allow 1,500 condominiums and low-income apartments across the street from where Disney plans to build its third theme park. Disney argued that the city hadn't completed a thorough environmental review.

But Sunvold ruled that because of the 2-2 vote, the city hadn't actually approved zoning for the homes. The council reopened debate in March and approved zoning on a 3-2 vote in April. In its second suit, Disney contends the city didn't have jurisdiction to rehear the issue.

"The essence of the court's decision today is that the first lawsuit was premature," said Rob Doughty, a Disney spokesman. "Our suit is about making certain that [the developer] follows the same planning and zoning standards that any major development in Anaheim would have to follow before being considered."

The project's developer, SunCal Cos., which has been paying the city's legal bills, applauded the ruling. "We are pleased that the Superior Court has seen through the Disney antics and dismissed a significant portion of the Disney lawsuit against the city of Anaheim," said Frank Elfend, a SunCal consultant.

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david.mckibben@latimes.com

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