Print

Santa Clara County court rules against Committee for Green Foothills lawsuit

On Oct. 12, Superior Court Judge Leslie C. Nichols issued an order in favor of Santa Clara County and Stanford University that the Committee for Green Foothills (CGF) failed to file its lawsuit over a trails project within the 30-day period established by state law for submitting such challenges. A judgment dismissing the case will be filed shortly.

On Dec. 13, 2005, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved two public trails to be constructed on the periphery of Stanford lands—one on the eastern edge, known as S-1, and a trail on the west side, called C-1. Within days of the vote, the county filed proper "notices of determination" that summarized its decision and environmental findings. This month's ruling stated that any challenges to the county's action had to be filed within 30 days after the notices were filed, or no later than Jan. 19, 2006.

CGF filed its lawsuit months later, on June 9, in an effort to overturn the board's approval of the C-1 trail. The county and the university then filed a "demurrer" asking that the lawsuit be dismissed because it was filed after the statute of limitation had expired. On Aug. 22, Nichols ruled for the county and Stanford, but he also allowed CGF to amend its petition.

CGF filed an amended complaint on Sept. 1, and after hearing oral arguments on Oct. 12, the judge issued a written ruling in favor of the county and Stanford. Further leave to amend was denied by the court.

Once the judgment of the lawsuit's dismissal is entered, CGF will have 60 days to appeal to an appellate court, according to Larry Horton, director of government and community relations at Stanford.

"If the matter is appealed, it could take a year or so for it to be considered," Horton said. "The judge's opinion is very strong, and we do not believe an appeal will be successful. It would simply continue to delay trail construction."