Movie ranch gets help in Placerita Canyon ruling

Residents pass through the gate on Placerita Canyon Road on Thursday, October 29, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal
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While the court order was years in the making, a movie studio ranch suing a neighboring homeowners association over gate access in Placerita Canyon can count several wins in a judge’s stipulated order earlier this month. 

Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio filed complaints back in October 2020, claiming a 1998 court order the studio had sought was being violated by the gate operations of the Placerita Canyon Corp. 

PCC is a neighborhood organization the community formed in the 1990s in response to traffic complaints from cars passing through the area from Highway 14 and Newhall Avenue. 

The organization has been operating a gate on Placerita Canyon Road since 1995 in response to a court order allowing it to do so. 

But in 1998, a judge ruled the studio and its clients also had a right to “unlimited and continuous access … through the gate with no delay between uses,” according to an October 2020 filing by Melody. 

Judge Randy Rhodes upheld the decades-old preliminary injunction, which has been the subject of an ongoing, yearslong lawsuit, in his Jan. 12 ruling.   

Rhodes’ stipulated order found that in order to be in compliance with the 1998 ruling, PCC must: permanently disengage or lock down the “tiger’s teeth” or spikes under the gate that could damage tires; transfer all necessary information about the access system to Melody; create an appointment on PCC’s board for a representative from Melody; and grant Melody 12 access cards, a master access card and a physical key, in exchange for an annual fee of $5,000. PCC must also allow residents who have access cards for the gate to allow their invited guests to be provided access to the gate. 

Both sides are still working to resolve some elements in the complaints filed by the facility, which includes claims of damages to the company allegedly caused by past gate restrictions. 

Neither side responded to requests for comment Tuesday on the near resolution of the years-long feud, likely because there are still some matters to resolve, including a potential question about attorney’s fees for the plaintiffs.  

The case is due back in court Feb. 7 for a mandatory settlement conference. 

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