Solar-panel saga continues for east side 

A Canyon Country hillside covered in solar panels is the subject of a yearslong lawsuit by the city of Santa Clarita. Chris Torres/ The Signal

The city’s lawsuit over a judge’s $5 million ruling for a local mobile home park is headed back to the Second Appellate District for the Judicial Branch of California in July, according to court records. 

Attorneys for both the city of Santa Clarita and Canyon View Estates filed requests Friday to present up to 30 minutes of oral arguments in front of the court July 25.  

A tentative ruling is usually released prior to the oral arguments, but no indication of one has been posted yet. 

The city is challenging a previous ruling that if the city wants the solar panels covering the hillside next to the mobile home park gone, then the city has to pay the owner of the panels about $5 million. 

In January 2022, Judge Stephen Pfahler ruled if the city wants to order the removal of the 6,580 ground-mounted solar panels, then estoppel applies, meaning the city must compensate the park for its legally acquired panels. 

In its 135-page response filed the previous summer, Canyon View attorneys contend the city stated for years it had no jurisdiction over the park and then did an about-face after the park installed a multimillion-dollar solar energy system.  

The city has argued that the panels represent a violation of the open-space agreement the park made with the county prior to the city’s formation, which required 50% of the park’s space to be open space or recreational area. The judge also stated in his ruling the panels constitute an abatable nuisance, or in other words, an annoyance that can be remedied. 

Canyon View’s attorneys, citing current zoning laws that count fenced-in yards as recreational space, have argued that the yards should count toward the mandated total. 

The park also argues that it sought the city’s permission for the panels and was referred to the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development, which has oversight for mobile home parks. 

The city did not have the current total for its legal bills so far immediately available when asked Monday; however, the estimate as of last August was around $1.1 million for its counsel

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