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A Sacramento Superior Court judge has thrown out a lawsuit by a Northern California campground that alleged the California Coast Commission (CCC) had overstepped its authority by threatening the campground with fines of $6,000 a day for allegedly making improvements without proper permits.
The judge ruled that the owner of the 29-space White Rock Resort in Smith River should have pursued administrative remedies or waited for the fines to be levied before filing his lawsuit, said Debbie Sipe, executive director of the California Travel Parks Association (CTPA), which helped provide funding for the lawsuit.
Specific improvements at issue with the CCC were the installation of recreational park trailers and accessory decks. Campground owner Alan Murray stated in his suit that the trailers and related improvements are in compliance with the regulations of both Del Norte County and the California Department of Housing and Community Development, which has jurisdiction over RV parks. Murray also asserted that he had not violated any codes.
Sipe said the suit was potentially precedent setting because if the CCC is allowed to assert regulatory authority over campgrounds and RV parks, there would be nothing to stop other state agencies from doing the same thing.
While the suit was dismissed, Sipe said the suit appears to have prompted top officials of the departments of Housing and Community Development and the CCC to communicate with each regarding jurisdictional issues. “That wasn’t happening before,” she said.