City and County joined as petitioners seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions against the State of California to halt ongoing aerial spraying of the light brown apple moth over Santa Cruz County. The Department of Agriculture contended that targeted spraying, in multiple selected counties, was emergently required to combat the threat of statewide infestation and destruction of commercial farming operations of fruit trees, berry crops and grapes. Numerous high powered private agricultural entities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture supported the state’s position with amicus filings. The State’s asserted emergency right to aerial spray was challenged by the local government petitioners under CEQA. Judge Burdick granted the petition and ordered an immediate halt to all aerial spraying in Santa Cruz County. Following release of Judge Burdick’s decision, Governor Schwarzenegger ordered the Department to discontinue aerial spraying throughout the entire state. The U.S. Department of Agriculture then abandoned its threatened intention to pursue the spraying project on a federal level.
Alleging CEQA violations, the City of Santa Cruz and a private citizens group sued the UC Regents, to halt the pending construction of a multi-million-dollar biomedical research facility and other long term development projects on the UCSC campus. Judge Burdick granted the petition for writ of mandate, ordered the Regents to rescind its certification of the environmental impact report, its approval of the long-range development plan, and prohibited the Regents from proceeding with construction of the biomedical facility. After release of Judge Burdick’s decision, the parties stipulated to stay appellate deadlines and consented to an order compelling mediation. After months of intensive mediation, the dispute was resolved without appeal. The mediation concluded with a historic comprehensive settlement agreement between the City, the private citizens group and the Regents concerning all aspects of the University’s long-term growth, including restrictions on campus housing buildouts, student populations, water usage and monetary contributions for traffic impacts. The settlement was consummated by Judgment pursuant to the parties’ stipulation.
A private association of airport users challenged the adequacy of the City’s environmental analysis of its 2030 General Plan. The Plan authorized development of land adjacent to the Watsonville Municipal Airport and contemplated the construction of over 2,500 new dwelling units in the area. The California Department of Transportation- Division of Aeronautics was granted leave to intervene in the litigation because of potential impacts on state aviation. The State argued that the 2030 General Plan violated various provisions of the State Aeronautics Act. Following de novo review, the Sixth District Court of Appeal, in a published opinion (H034164), affirmed Judge Burdick’s judgment granting the petition for writ of mandate which required the City to set aside its approval of the development project.
Plaintiff environmental association filed a writ petition against the City of Santa Cruz to halt the City’s planned construction of a paved bicycle corridor through a designated open space adjacent to natural wetlands populated by environmentally sensitive plant species. After the petition was denied, the association appealed. Judge Burdick’s decision, authorizing the City to proceed with construction, was affirmed by the Sixth District Court of Appeal in an oft-cited published opinion (H032502).
The Seaside Company, owner of Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, sued the City of Santa Cruz and the State Lands Commission seeking declaratory relief that the City’s order to demolish a previously constructed parking lot on riverfront property extending into state tidelands was invalid, and establishing validity of the owner’s deed to the property by way of an 1867 grant from the federal government to its predecessor in interest, made under the authority of the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Following a court trial, Judge Burdick granted the relief requested, and confirmed title to the property in the Seaside Company which conveyed rights that preceded, and took precedence over, rights of the public to the tidelands in question created by the later enacted public trust doctrine.
Hon. Paul Burdick (Ret.)
96 North Third Street Suite 350 San Jose, CA 95112