Judge denies request to block use of stadium lights at Malibu High

L.A. County Superior Court judge denies request by residents to block use of stadium lights at Malibu High

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has denied a long-standing request by Malibu residents to block the use of 70-foot-tall stadium lights at Malibu High School.

The 2012 lawsuit originally sought to stop the construction of the lights. Since then, the lights were built and have been in use for the last three school years, according to court documents.

The Malibu Community Preservation Alliance argued in the lawsuit that the lights would disturb the neighborhood's natural environment.

Plaintiffs challenged the Malibu City Council's right to grant a permit for the lights without first putting the decision in front of the Planning Commission. They also argued that the city had skirted required environmental procedures.

At the time the litigation was filed, City Atty. Christi Hogin called the lawsuit manipulation, telling The Times: "It's just for the purpose of undoing the decision to cause trouble."

She said the Planning Commission could not meet a minimum quorum because three of the five members were recused based on conflicts of interest and bias concerns.

L.A. County Superior Court Judge Richard L. Fruin Jr. agreed. In his decision written this month, he said the Planning Commission was "legally prevented from acting on" the lights application "due to the absence of a disinterested quorum." Fruin also wrote that the city "did not abuse its discretion in approving the field lights."

Steve Uhring, a member of the alliance, said the group was disappointed by the ruling and an appeal was possible.

"We're exploring all avenues remaining to us to ensure compliance by the [school] district with the spirit of the community compromise," he said in an emailed statement.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District issued a news release last week lauding the court's decision.

"Our students will continue to have the opportunity to use this venue to support their educational and extracurricular aspirations," Supt. Sandra Lyon said in the statement. "We look forward to continuing to be a great neighbor in Malibu while making sure Malibu children have access to a great public education experience."

matt.stevens@latimes.com

Twitter: @ByMattStevens

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
59°