Source: Valley Roadrunner

School district prevails in CCC lawsuit: judge dismisses

by Staff

August 07, 2013

Last week a judge dismissed the lawsuit brought by the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp Interest Group against the Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District. The judge ruled there was no evidence of a Brown Act violation due to the school board decision in March to demolish the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps barracks located near the intersection of VC and Cole Grade Roads.

Judge Earl H. Maas, III ruled to demurrer without leave to amend. He noted, “there were insufficient facts alleged, or proffered during oral argument, to support a cause of action for judicial intervention based on upon the Brown Act.”

The CCC Interest Group is an unincorporated group that includes Jon Vick, Craig Johnson and other local residents. It does not include the VC History Museum, which was in no way involved in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claimed that the district misled the public by not publishing in the agenda that it might take action to demolish the buildings. “The agenda item failed to accurately apprise the public of what was actually before the board, which was the approval of the destruction and demolition of the buildings on the Project site … ” The judge disagreed.

The plaintiffs also argued that the school district ought to be required to consider the historical significance of the remnants of the CCC building (a.k.a. Camp Roe), such as the foundation, before being allowed to develop anything on the site. The lawsuit asked the court to order the school district to stop further action on the property and to do nothing else until it complied with CEQA requirements by preparing an Enivironmental Impact Report.

The judge wrote that if the school district did decide to go forward with a project at the site it would need to conduct the various environmental impact reports required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

The judge added, “Presumably, the argument regarding what impacts any subsequent project would cause would also consider the proper baseline for such an analysis. This would be the proper forum for a discussion regarding the already completed destruction of the alleged historical buildings.”

According to VCPUSD School Supt. Lou Obermeyer the district spent about $50,000 defending itself against the lawsuit. She said the district will not seek from the plaintiff reimbursement for court costs.

In a related development the VCPUSD school board Thursday will get an update on the proposed athletic fields at the former CCC site. The meeting will be held 6 p.m. in the high school’s media room (library). Supt. Obermeyer told The Roadrunner that the district plans to do an EIR on the project, “as we do on all projects.”