The choice of venue is at stake in a lawsuit that challenges the planned closure of an Incline Village mobile home park at the center of a Tahoe Basin affordable-housing fight.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court's Eastern California district, pits a group that includes the College Park Home Owners Association against the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
The homeowner group wants to force the planning agency to reconsider the permission it gave Sierra Nevada College last August to close the College Park mobile home facility.
The agency wants to move the case to Nevada, citing directives in the bistate compact that created it.
The suit challenges a TRPA-approved activity on a Nevada land parcel in the Tahoe Basin,
according to agency general counsel John Marshall, so the compact clearly assigns the matter to the federal court's Reno district, and not its California district.
But Jim Seymour, the attorney representing the opposition, says the case deals with the
constitutional right of due process, and not with a challenge to the agency's approval.
"The fact that it relates to land has nothing to do with venue," Seymour said in comments
last week. "We were not given adequate notice on the matter."
Seymour said TRPA's short notice wasn't enough time to understand the information, some that took five months to gather and analyze.
"It was eight days before the meeting when TRPA finally got me all the documents I needed," Seymour said, adding that in this case the compact gives him the right to choose either venue.
Seymour said he chose California because the underlying issues are related to a 1994 case on affordable housing that the League to Save Lake Tahoe won against TRPA in the California venue.
Judge Lawrence Karlton of the U.S. District Court's Eastern California district will hear evidence on TRPA's change of venue request Dec. 9. Karlton delayed a hearing on the
due-process issues from Dec. 9 to Jan. 21.
Tahoe Basin developer Falcon Capital is under contract with the college to buy the College
Park site. In earlier comments, Falcon managing partner Randy Lane of Zephyr Cove said his company was considering building up to 22 low cost units, either on the park site, or elsewhere in Incline Village.