Lawsuit challenging Escondido Country Club project will continue
J. Harry Jones - June 11, 2018
of the former Escondido Country Club property remains in limbo
following a court ruling that allows the continuation of a
lawsuit challenging the Escondido City Councils approval
of the 380-home project.
had hoped its motion to dismiss the lawsuit, based on a paperwork-filing
technicality, would end the legal battle and bring to a conclusion
the six-year saga over the future of the long-since shuttered
Superior Court Judge Ronald F. Frazier on Friday sided with
the Escondido Country Club Homeowners Organization (ECCHO),
saying in a written ruling that the citys argument that
the nonprofit was not in good standing with the state shouldnt
is a good thing, said plaintiff attorney Everett DeLano.
ECCHO deserves its day in court.
The case will
proceed to trial, something that wont happen until November,
The city had
argued that because ECCHO had inadvertently let its registration
as a nonprofit expire with the state, it should not have been
allowed to file the lawsuit.
that the group had thought it was in good standing and has
since renewed its nonprofit status.
just a clerical error, he said.
ruled that at this stage in the case he was required to liberally
construe the allegations with a view to substantial
justice between the parties.
He said the
citys position that the case should be dismissed failed
for two reasons, one of which being that the status of the
nonprofit has been restored.
challenges the councils 3-2 vote in November 2017 to
approve the project on the grounds that an environmental report
was inadequate and that the approval violates Proposition
S, the "Growth Management and Neighborhood Protection
Act" adopted by Escondido voters in 1998.
The act requires
a citywide vote of residents for certain zoning density increases.
country club property is zoned for housing, but the lawsuit
contends certain provisions concerning the clustering of buildings
should force a Prop. S vote.
owner Michael Schlesinger has an agreement with developer
New Urban West to sell the property on the conditions that
the council approves a development plan and that all legal
hurdles have been overcome.
approved the project, but the legal hurdles continue.