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California Briefing | LOS ANGELES

Las Lomas developer sues city

June 17, 2008|Jennifer Oldham

A developer who spent years trying to build a 5,553-home development on the jagged ridgelines at the intersection of Interstate 5 and the Antelope Valley Freeway sued the city of Los Angeles on Monday, saying that a decision earlier this year by the City Council to halt its review of the project was illegal. In a 25-page complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Las Lomas Land Co. argues that the council violated state law and the developer's constitutional right to due process when it voted 10 to 5 in March to instruct the Planning Department to stop processing the application to build the project. The unusual decision reflected the council's heightened concern over increased traffic and growth.

The company is asking the court to order the city to finish complex environmental studies for the 555-acre project. The suit also seeks more than $100 million in damages. Carlyle Hall, an attorney who represents developer Dan Palmer, said the damage request represented profits the company would have collected had the project been completed.

A representative of Los Angeles City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo said the office had yet to review the lawsuit.

The complaint cited an opinion by the city attorney that the council would be vulnerable to a lawsuit if it didn't finish processing the project's application. The developer also proposed that Los Angeles annex the property so he could access the city's water supply and build more houses than the county allows.

For the last six years, processing of the project largely took place behind closed doors, as myriad Los Angeles city agencies tried to sort out how to provide services to the estimated 15,000 people who could live in Las Lomas.

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-- Jennifer Oldham

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