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Monday, March 25 , 2019, 10:37 pm | Fair 51º


State Supreme Court Declines to Review Ruling In Lompoc Illegal Sports Field Case

The California Supreme Court has denied a request to consider a lawsuit filed by Lompoc City Councilman James Mosby over his sports field, which Santa Barbara County says is illegal.

Without comment, the Supreme Court denied the petition for review, according to judicial officials.

Mosby sought the review after the Second District Court of Appeal ruled Santa Barbara County acted properly in denying a permit for Mosby to operate a sports field just east of the Lompoc. 

“We conclude that the denial is supported by substantial evidence, after examining ‘all relevant evidence in the entire record,’” appellate judges decided in an opinion released in January.

“Mosby’s small site adjoins agricultural operations that use pesticides, and his project degrades the soil and lacks public services. The county drew a line and refused to approve an urban-type facility hosting up to 780 patrons per weekend day in a rural area. This was not a prejudicial abuse of discretion,” the ruling said in affirming the decision.

Mosby, who was represented by Kate M. Neiswender, has operated on his land an unpermitted commercial recreational facility with a paintball field, a remote-controlled car track, and soccer fields, in violation of county zoning laws, since 2006. 

The site also has greenhouses, a residence, a warehouse, aquaculture ponds, and a parking lot for 150 cars.

The county received a complaint about the unpermitted activity in 2011, but has rejected his efforts for a permit, and Mosby sued, prevailing in that case.

During its reconsideration of the request, the county again denied the conditional-use permit, leading Mosby to file another lawsuit.

This time, the Santa Barbara County Superior Court judge denied the petition, leaving him to appeal the matter.

Mosby and the county have been in a multi-year battle over the recreational fields, saying its the sports enthusiasts who will be affected if he has to end the recreational activities.

Reached by phone Friday, Mosby said he was not aware of the denial. He said the petition for review was a long shot, and called the denial unfortunate, saying there's "always other options."

Santa Barbara County spent approximately $91,500 in salary, benefits and overhead costs in support of the legal action, according to officials’ estimates. Prevailing in the lawsuit also means the county does not have to pay Mosby’s attorney fees.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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