City Council to reconvene over solar panel 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
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Santa Clarita City Council members are set to discuss in closed session Tuesday their ongoing legal battle with property owner Canyon View Limited over the 2.5 acres of solar panels on a Canyon Country hillside.  

In September 2018 the city filed a complaint against the property owner alleging it violated the city’s municipal code and maintained a public nuisance with the “unpermitted and unauthorized” 120,000-square-foot solar energy project.  

Canyon View has argued that it does not have to comply with permits or Santa Clarita’s building codes because it is solely governed by the state, which oversees all mobile home parks.  

A January court ruling allowed for the city’s request to inspect the property, which is the Canyon View Mobile Home Estates at 20001 Canyon View Drive, to help determine whether the property owner complied with permitting requirements. 

With an inspection, the city seeks to “assess with further specificity the size, nature and scope of the solar project,” including whether Canyon View violated the conditional use permit or any building codes, read court documents.  

The property owner has stated that the inspection request is “vague and ambiguous.”  

Tuesday’s council meeting would come after a judge rescheduled in July a nonjury trial from November 2020 to April 26 of this year due to “the spread of COVID-19, the need for social distancing, and the state of emergency having been declared by Gov. (Gavin) Newsom.”  

Over the past recent months, the parties have been working to schedule expert witnesses for the upcoming trial who can testify on opinions regarding approvals, land planning and open space designation issues, according to an August court agreement between both sides.  

The closed session meeting is scheduled at 5:30 p.m. before the council’s regular meeting at 6 p.m. While city officials cannot discuss pending litigation, City Attorney Joseph Montes could offer comment on the matter after the closed session. 

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