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THOUSAND OAKS : Lawsuit Filed Over Undeveloped Land

Two children of a Westlake businessman who unsuccessfully attempted to build residences on a ridge-top parcel have filed a $4-million lawsuit against the city of Thousand Oaks.

The lawsuit filed this week in Ventura County Superior Court by Mark Mallas and Dawn-Marie Johnson charges that city planning officials and the City Council delayed their father’s application to divide a 32-acre parcel. The city designated the land as open space, preventing development, according to the suit.

Johnson and Mallas are the children of businessman Don Mallas, who transferred ownership of the North Ranch area property to a trust. Johnson and Mark Mallas are co-trustees. Marc L. Charney, an Oxnard attorney who represents Mallas and Johnson, said Friday that the two filed the lawsuit because they want payment for land they cannot develop.

“It amounts to condemnation of the property,” Charney said. “All they’re left with, with respect to this property, is the right to pay taxes.”

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City Atty. Mark G. Sellers was unavailable for comment. In designating other areas as open space, city officials have cited a need to preserve environmentally sensitive ridgelines from development.

The parcel was originally part of a larger Prudential Insurance Co. development that included a golf course and 53 houses.


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