COOPER v. CANYON OAKS ESTATES

Reset A A Font size: Print

Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 4, California.

Joan COOPER, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. MOUNTAINS RECREATION AND CONSERVATION AUTHORITY et al., Defendants and Respondents; CANYON OAKS ESTATES, Real Party in Interest and Respondent.

No. B105915.

Decided: February 10, 1998

 Joan Cooper, in pro. per., for Plaintiff and Appellant. Daniel E. Lungren, Attorney General, Roderick E. Walston, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Richard M. Frank, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Alan V. Hager, Supervising Deputy Attorney General and Terry T. Fujimoto, Deputy Attorney General, for Defendants and Respondents Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority. De Witt W. Clinton, County Counsel and Helen S. Parker, Principal Deputy County Counsel for Defendant and Respondent County of Los Angeles. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Gary L. Justice and Sheila R. Caudle, Los Angeles, for Real Party in Interest and Respondent.

Joan Cooper appeals the trial court's dismissal of her petition for a writ of mandate.   She challenges the Mountains Recreation and  Conservation Authority's (Authority) purchase of 662 acres of land in Topanga Canyon, maintaining the Authority overpaid for the parcel, violated the California open meeting law, popularly known as the Ralph M. Brown Act or the Brown Act (Gov.Code, § 54950 et seq.), and the California Environmental Quality Act (Pub. Resources Code, § 21000 et seq.), and exceeded its powers under its joint powers agreement.   She also contends the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors improperly allocated funds under Proposition A for the purchase.   We find no error and affirm the judgment.   In the published portion of this opinion, we conclude that Authority did not exceed its power under the joint powers agreement. The other issues are considered in the unpublished portion of the opinion.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Appellant, Joan Cooper is a taxpayer residing in Topanga Canyon, the site of the property at issue.

Respondents include:  (1) the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (Conservancy), an entity governed by a board composed of eight voting members and two ex officio members within the Resources Agency (Pub. Resources Code, § 33200 et seq.);  (2) the Authority, a joint public entity created pursuant to a joint powers agreement between the Conservancy and the Conejo and Rancho Simi park districts (Gov.Code, § 6500 et seq.); 1  and (3) the County of Los Angeles, a public entity.**

DISCUSSION

I-III**IV

Appellant argues that under its joint powers agreement between the Conservancy and the park districts, the Authority is required to gain approval from the Public Works Board to acquire property.   Appellant bases her argument on the fact that the Conservancy is required to obtain approval  from the Public Works Board prior to acquiring land.  (Gov.Code, § 15850;  Pub. Resources Code, § 33203.)   She does not dispute the fact that the park districts are not required to obtain approval prior to a purchase.  (Pub. Resources Code, § 5782.5, subd. (b).)  She presents a question of statutory interpretation, which we review de novo.  (Golden Cheese Co. v. Voss (1991) 230 Cal.App.3d 547, 556, 281 Cal.Rptr. 587.)

A joint powers agency “is subject to the restrictions upon the manner of exercising the power of one of the contracting parties, which party shall be designated by the agreement.”  (Gov.Code, § 6509, emphasis added.)   Section 4.2 of the agreement between the Conservancy and park districts states, “[P]owers are subject to the restrictions upon the manner of exercising the powers as imposed upon the Conejo and Rancho Simi Districts, ․ ” (Emphasis added.)   Under this agreement, the Authority is subject to the same restrictions as the park districts.   Seeking approval from the Public Works Board is not among those restrictions.

V **

DISPOSITION

The judgment is affirmed.

FOOTNOTES

1.   We take judicial notice of the Joint Powers agreement between the Conservancy and park districts.  (See Evid.Code, § 452, subds. (b), (h).)

FOOTNOTE.   See footnote *, ante.

EPSTEIN, Associate Justice.

CHARLES S. VOGEL, P.J., and HASTINGS, J., concur.

Copied to clipboard