Judge shortens time to hear city’s motion to inspect Canyon View solar panels

Solar panels have been installed on the hills of Canyon View Estates. Courtesy of Geri Brown.

In the ongoing legal battle about the 2.5 acres of solar panels on a Canyon Country hillside, a Los Angeles County judge granted Santa Clarita’s request Monday to expedite a hearing on whether the city will be allowed to inspect the property containing the solar energy project. 

The hearing for the city’s motion to compel the inspection of the property, which is the Canyon View Mobile Home Estates at 20001 Canyon View Drive, was moved from the end of March to Jan. 21. 

Santa Clarita officials declined to comment for this story, as did lawyers for Canyon View Limited, the company representing the development.

“Trial in this action is scheduled for Jan. 27, 2020, with fact and expert discovery cut-off dates nearing,” attorneys representing Santa Clarita said in an ex parte application on why the court should shorten the time for the hearing. 

While the city and opposing party Canyon View Limited, which owns the property, agreed to the request to shorten the time for the hearing, the property owners have expressed opposition to allowing the city to conduct an inspection.  

Santa Clarita wants to enter the mobile home park “for the express purpose of inspecting, surveying, measuring, photographing and videotaping the property, including but not limited to the solar panels installed on the property,” according to court documents. 

In response, Canyon View Limited cited five objections, including that the inspection demand is “vague and ambiguous,” does not “assure that the site inspection will not invade the privacy of tenants,” and is “not relevant to the subject matter of this action nor reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.” 

The legal battle stems from a formal complaint the city filed in September 2018 regarding the solar panels, asking the court for “preliminary and permanent injunction and declaratory relief to abate a public nuisance.” 

The city alleged the solar panels, which cover more than 120,000 square feet, were installed without proper permits and are in violation of the Santa Clarita Municipal Code and the mobile home park’s conditional use permit, which states that 50% of the property needs to be maintained as open space. 

Canyon View has argued that the city cannot regulate the property of more than 400 homes because mobile home parks fall under the state of California’s jurisdiction. 

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