Thursday, May 07, 2015

Keep Our Mountains Quiet v. County of Santa Clara (Cal. Ct. App. - May 7, 2015)

To its credit, the Court of Appeal plays this one straight up.

It's about a homeowner who has some weddings on her property in the hills of Santa Clara County, and some neighbors who don't like the resulting noise, complained, and then challenge the County's grant of a permit without requiring a full-scale environmental impact report.  Ultimately, the annoyed neighbors largely win, including obtaining an award of attorney's fees for acting in the public interest.

Left largely unspoken -- at least expressly -- in the Court of Appeal's opinion is just how rich many of the people involved in this dispute are.  The closest the Court of Appeal comes is its reference to the area at issue as a place that includes "vineyards for the Redwood Ridge Estates Winery, llama and alpaca grazing land, [and] barns."  Perhaps a reminder that we're talking about the hills about Santa Clara County; i.e., the expensive (and beautiful) hillsides above Silicon Valley.

Nor does the Court of Appeal say even a word about the identity of the homeowner at issue:  Candice Clark Wozniak.  Though perhaps you recognize the last name, which is a fairly unusual one.  Yes, it's the same Wozniak.  She's the former wife of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.  So let's just say she's not exactly poor.

Nor is she a slouch.  Among other things, she was a gold medalist in the K-1 Slalom team event at the 1973 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships.

But even with all these talents, she takes it on the chin here.

Rich people problems.