Land-use case involving Nevada County, Penn Valley couple delayed until January |

Land-use case involving Nevada County, Penn Valley couple delayed until January

The land-use case pitting a Penn Valley couple against Nevada County has been postponed until January, attorneys said.

Scheduling conflicts led Superior Court Judge Sean Dowling to delay the case involving Juliet Erickson and Peter Lockyer until Jan. 5. The case was scheduled to begin this Tuesday.

“We wanted a roll of days,” said attorney Allan Haley, who represents the Lockyers. “It will take four to five days to try the case.”

Scheduling issues, as well as the Thanksgiving holiday, led to the delay.

The civil case centers on if the county violated the couple’s rights when it ordered them to build a tree line buffer to protect a “visually important ridgeline.”

Dowling in August ordered the county to issue the couple a building permit without restrictions.

The judge, however, must still determine if a “taking” — a violation of the couple’s Fifth Amendment rights — occurred. The Lockyers argue the county violated its rights by taking its property without compensating them.

If the county loses, it could face monetary damages for the “taking.” A finding in favor of the county means the couple is entitled to no monetary damages based on its Fifth Amendment arguments.

The county has spent over $250,000 on its attorneys. The Board of Supervisors has authorized $425,000 on attorney’s fees.

The couple reportedly has spent about $1 million.

No jury will hear the case. Instead the judge will decide the verdict.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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