Skip to comments.Half Moon Bay grapples with $36.8 million judgment against it
Posted on 12/18/2007 8:00:35 AM PST by SmithL
Half Moon Bay is wrestling with unpleasant options for responding to a court ruling that officials say threatens the "very existence of our city government" - a $36.8 million judgment against the city for turning a proposed housing development site into wetlands.
Under the worst-case scenario, officials say, Half Moon Bay would become the first Bay Area city forced to dissolve, and the coastal town's land would become an unincorporated part of San Mateo County.
Members of the City Council say that's unlikely, and they plan to vote at a public meeting tonight to retain an appellate law firm and a financial consultant to advise them on how to tackle a court judgment that is more than three times Half Moon Bay's $10 million annual budget.
Appealing U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker's Nov. 28 ruling could be a stretch for the city of 12,300, however. A court might require Half Moon Bay to put up a multimillion-dollar security bond just to fight the decision.
Funding such a bond would mean "significant budget cuts across the board," the City Council said in a joint statement last week. "Everything will be affected - parks, streets, libraries, repairs - every municipal function will face cuts."
Paying the judgment outright appears to be out of the question. The City Council said: "The very existence of our city government is threatened."
The dilemma arose from a long-running dispute over a 24-acre parcel just east of Highway 1 that is flanked by housing developments, spotted with trees and choked by 6-foot-tall weeds.
The property, known as Beachwood, is owned in trust by Palo Alto developer Charles "Chop" Keenan, whose trustee bought it in 1993 for $1 million in a foreclosure sale and planned to build an 83-unit residential subdivision.
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
The Beachwood property, the judge ruled, became a wetlands after the city did work in the area.
Just too bad for the city. Let them be a lesson for others.
I doubt if the City Council is ever too concern when their anti-growth policies threaten the livelihood of its citizens.
In six months we begin construction.....of DELTA CITY!
Don’t a bunch of Dean Koontz novels happen here?
could they make payments ? a million a year for 37 years ?
( or more years, taking the juice into consideration)
it would be 10% of the budget, which they should be able to absorb by cutting out waste/fraud.
And who in their right mind would write a $36 million appeal bond for an entity that probably can't scratch together $5 mill in current assets and is threatening to just disband if they lose on appeal?
hahaha thats funny
Pay for their mistakes, haha
Maybe in a alternate universe.
“She added fill dirt to make it a dry area for her kids again. The city got an injunction against her, and she had to remove the fill. Now, for most of the year, she has a bug infested swamp for a yard!”
One of my favorite “bribery” stories. My father was building a development serviced by the City of Cleveland Water Dept. The City wouldn’t respond to request for hookups, until they discovered that my Dad was putting a bottle of Jim Beam at every location where he needed a water connection. From then on, they responded immediately, and did as many as a dozen a day!
Ummm... how was the quality of the hookups done later in the day? *\;-)
Will the city have to post an appeal bond?
I hope the developer begins forclosure proceedings.
Then again there IS a provision for municipal bankrupcies under the new bankrupcy code.
according to this your friend can sue for an illegal taking.
This is not really new law, this is just evidence that city governments believed they can push people around because they have deeper pockers.
The owner of the property was blackmailed into giving the city $1 million dollars for a waste treatment facility, then denied the use of his property.
He also had a hotel that was nearing completion in Half Moon Bay destroyed by arson.
Then the city wants to take his property by declaring them wetlands.
This guy should bankrupt the city just on principle.
bet the city is reaaaaly going to love that municipal bankrupcy law. The debt is not so easy to evade just by dissolution. Otherwise cities would be dissolving and reforming every time they lost a suit.
24 ACRES..on PCH for $1 million..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Privatize the city government along with its right to tax, and give it to the plaintiff. Bet the rest of the city governments around the country become much humbler.
I have been following this case and have read the entire judges report. The City was acting in incredibly bad faith and had been for years. They already bankrupted a previous owner of the land and were trying to bankrupt this one. The City and everyone in it deserve this.
Some city and County governments are indistinguishable from the mafia, or drug lords, and they have been getting away with it in California, for decades!
The RICO statutes should apply, and the perps made personally responsible.
From the chamber of commerce:
Residential development and tourism development caters to the executive lifestyle. The median priced home is in the $700,000, with most newer and golf course homes in the $900,000 - $1,500,000 range.
And this statement defines all too clearly the strategy of the perps, who have a total ignorance of Constitutional restraints, or a complete indifference to them:
A slow-growth bloc had won a majority on the City Council in 1996
A million a year wouldn’t even cover interest on the judgment, so the debt would just get larger.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus
I can't agree more. It is simply jaw dropping to experience the attitudes in that area - enforced scarcity that is a blatant attempt to keep land prices high.
Good riddance to a bunch of leftist thieves. Find honest jobs.
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