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CVP v MCOSD: Opening Brief & Statement of Issues - Alto Bowl Preserve

On November 29, 2016, the Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) announced that they had made the decision to open the single-track, Bob Middagh Trail in the Alto Bowl Preserve, to use by mountain bikers. This decision was made by MCOSD staff, without the approval of the Board of Supervisors, without the undertaking of any investigation or analysis as required by the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA"), and in contradiction to the procedural requirements of the County's own Trails Plan.

In response and after a thorough investigation of all the facts and circumstances, on May 26, 2017, Community Venture Partners filed a Petition for Writ of Mandate, contesting the legitimacy of that decision.

For the full background on this story please see CVP files Petition for Writ of Mandate v MCOSD.

After six months of difficulty working to coordinate with the Office of the Marin County Counsel, CVP attorney Michael Graf filed his Opening Brief & Statement of Issues, on Friday, January 26, 2018. That document describes and brings arguments regarding four significant questions:

  1. Whether the District committed to a course of action thereby triggering CEQA review when it approved the Project on November 29, 2016?
  2. Whether the District complied with CEQA when it purported to "tier" its Project approval to the District’s 2014 Road and Trail Management Plan EIR in May 2017?
  3. Whether the impact of introducing bikes to the Alto Bowl Preserve and Bob Middagh Trail on existing users of the Trail and Preserve is a CEQA impact that must be analyzed?
  4. Whether the District violated its Road and Trail Management Plan when it failed to consider any submitted project proposals not involving adding bikes to the Trail and Preserve?

The Opening Brief & Statement of Issues can be read in its entirety HERE. The substantive legal arguments presented in the brief are as follows:

The Open Space District violated CEQA:

The Open Space District's project selection process violates its own Road & Trail Management Plan

The petitioner, CVP, is requesting that the court set aside the District's approval for the Project (to allow mountain biking on the Bob Middagh Trail in the Alto Bowl Preserve) until such time as the District has complied fully with the Trails Plan and the requirements under CEQA. We pray that the Court will carefully consider the facts and existing case law, and see the justice in our argument.

A court date to hear this case is presently set for March 16, 2018.