Lagoon Project Hearing Postponed as Date Nears for Construction to Start
• New Judge Reportedly Is More Familiar with CEQA
BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN
The preliminary hearing for an injunction motion to prevent work from beginning on the State Parks' Malibu Lagoon Restoration and Enhancement Project that was scheduled for Monday of this week in San Francisco was cancelled.
"We have been moved to another courtroom with a new judge who is more familiar with California Environmental Quality Act," emailed restoration project opponent Marcia Hanscom, whose organization, the Wetlands Defense Fund, is one of the plaintiffs in the filing.
"Our lawyer is in touch with the clerk of the new judge [the Honorable Ernest H. Goldsmith], urging the need for a hearing ASAP," Hanscom told the Malibu Surfside News.
Observers say that timing is crucial, since the project is scheduled to break ground in June, although injunctions have been granted at the eleventh hour in other CEQA-based cases.
The project, which involves draining, dredging and reconstructing the western portion of the lagoon and removing one of two beach accesses has received all of the necessary permits and approvals to move forward in June.
However, the project has attracted a groundswell of opposition from residents, surfers, environmentalists and public access advocates, leading to a lawsuit and the injunction currently awaiting a new hearing date.