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Palomar project moves forward after ruling on trespassing case 

A 33-unit housing development in San Luis Obispo stymied by litigation recommenced construction after a SLO County Superior Court judge denied a neighbor's request to halt the project for trespassing.

click to enlarge TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT A SLO County judge ruled that a 33-unit project at 71 Palomar in San Luis Obispo could continue construction, after the owners of an adjoining property (the vacant grassy area) sued for trespassing. - PHOTO BY PETER JOHNSON
  • Photo By Peter Johnson
  • TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT A SLO County judge ruled that a 33-unit project at 71 Palomar in San Luis Obispo could continue construction, after the owners of an adjoining property (the vacant grassy area) sued for trespassing.

Owners of a vacant parcel next to the project site at 71 Palomar Ave. filed the lawsuit in September, claiming the developer's construction activities trespassed onto their small lot at 75 Palomar and ultimately would render the lot undevelopable.

"With the advent of tiny houses, there's always the expectation that the parcel would at least be available," Roy Ogden, the neighbor's attorney, told New Times when the suit was filed.

The court initially issued a temporary stay on construction, but on Nov. 14, Judge Tana Coates denied a request for preliminary injunction that would've extended the freeze. Coates pointed to two easements from 1967 and 1971 on the parcel that allowed for much of the construction activities.

"The easements are not ambiguous," Coates wrote in the order. "The evidence ... establishes that the defendant proceeded with the development per the terms of the easements."

Coates was also unconvinced of the neighbor's argument that their lot could be the future site of an 800-square-foot house.

"Plaintiff has not submitted any evidence that it intends to build on 75 Palomar," the order reads. "Whereas defendant has submitted evidence of the cost and expenses it will incur if the development does not proceed."

Neither party in the case returned requests for comment from New Times before press time.

The lawsuit marks the second legal hurdle for 71 Palomar since the project was approved by the City Council. Neighborhood residents also lost a case in 2017 challenging the project's environmental review. Δ

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