Save Mount Diablo v. Contra Costa Cnty.Annotate this Case
The Contra Costa Water District oversaw construction of a dam, requiring acquisition of 20,000 acres from about 40 owners, relocating 13 miles of road, and installing 20 miles of water pipeline and 12 miles of gas line. A 586-acre tract acquired by the Nunns in 2006 is crossed by two strips of land, acquired by the District by condemnation in 1997. One was acquired to relocate Vasco Road. The other intersects Vasco Road at a right angle and contains an underground pipeline. Previous owners were awarded $964,000 in compensation. The property is partially planted with wine grapes and is subject to a Williamson Act contract restricting it to agricultural uses. The Nunns sought approval to subdivide the property into four lots and one remainder parcel.. Before completing the process, they abandoned their application, but asked the county to issue a certificate of compliance for each of the parts under Subdivision Map Act 66499.35(a), arguing that the condemnation had the effect of subdividing the property for purposes of the Act. Planning staff denied the request, but the Planning Commission reversed. The Board of Supervisors rejected appeals and issued the certificates. The trial court and court of appeal concluded that no legal authority supported the Nunns’ theory and vacated the approvals.