Hearing set for Canyon View solar panels litigation

Solar panels line a hillside in Canyon Country above the Canyon View Estates. The City of Santa Clarita has ordered the removal of these panels. Cory Rubin/ The Signal

Santa Clarita is seeking an end to its ongoing legal dispute with Canyon View Limited for placing about 6,000 solar panels on an open Canyon Country hillside. 

A hearing requesting a summary judgment is set for Dec. 12 in Chatsworth. The hearing was granted after a request from the city to seek “injunctive relief against the defendants (Canyon View Limited)” for violating the Santa Clarita Municipal Code regarding open space, according to city documents.

“In 2017, long after the property became part of the city of Santa Clarita, the defendants installed approximately 120,000 square feet of solar panels on an open hillside,” reads the court document. “The project violates the 50% open space requirement and constitutes a new use of the property in violation of applicable zoning regulations.”

To obtain a summary judgment, one party has to show the opposing party’s pleadings lack evidence to support its claims. 

City Attorney Joe Montes said some of Canyon View’s claims rested on past statements the city has made with respect to the solar panels, which is why the city would not be commenting on the upcoming proceedings in December. 

“The city is in the midst of active litigation and the defendants are attempting to use statements allegedly made by the city over the last couple of years concerning these matters,” said City Attorney Joseph Montes. “For that reason, the city will not comment at this time so as to avoid having to address further statements in the litigation.”

The defendants, which include Canyon View managing partner Kerry and Mark Seidenglanz, and lawyers with Murphy and Evertz LLP representing them, have not responded to requests for comment. 

The city asked the court to favor “the city on its first cause of action and against the defendants on their fourth and fifth Causes of Action,” according to the memorandum.  

Santa Clarita is asking Canyon View to remove the solar panels on the basis that the “installation and maintenance of solar panels on the open hillside of the Canyon View Estates property violated (conditional use permit) by further reducing the amount of required open space.”

In Canyon View’s amended answer, which was filed in late September, the defendants contend the city said in February 2017 no city permits were required for the solar-panel installation at Canyon View Estates, the mobile home park that uses the solar panels. 

In response, attorneys for the city stated such an argument is invalid as a defense because, according to the city, “the defendants were not ‘ignorant of the facts’ regarding the limits on their use of the Canyon View Estates property.”

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