Ramirez residents will continue with lawsuit

Ramirez Canyon residents are encouraged by a recent state superior court ruling denying a motion by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy to dismiss the action to stop its activities at the Streisand Center.

Last month, Judge Stanley Weisberg ruled against the Ramirez Canyon Preservation Fund’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the conservancy. In effect, the judge said based on sovereign immunity, he would not halt the disputed functions by the conservancy at the Streisand Center while the residents’ lawsuit against the conservancy is awaiting trial.

According to Mindy Sheps, board chair for the neighborhood group, now the coast is clear to proceed with all claims against the conservancy. saying that in no way did the judge’s denial of preliminary injunction indicate his ultimate opinion about the merits of the case. “He [Weisberg] refused to dismiss any portion of the actions, even those claims pertaining to sovereign immunities,” Sheps said. “It was very encouraging that the court understands and respects the rights of the homeowners against unlawful activities of the conservancy.”

The feud among the neighbors along the road leading up to the center and conservancy over activities including catered events that take place there has been escalating since the state took over the property formerly owned by Barbra Streisand. Complaints have focused primarily on noise and traffic hazards, as well as issues over whether the state agency is running a commercial operation by hosting paid social events at the center.

Sheps said the next step is for conservancy lawyers to respond to the neighborhood group’s complaints, to be followed by depositions. Sheps was pleased at the recent court decision. “The judge made a point of explaining that his initial ruling on the preliminary injunction was not indicative of his feelings about the merits of this case.” Conservancy officials were not available for comment at this writing.

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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