Van De Kamps Coalition v. Los Angeles Community College District, et al.

Summary

The Second District Court of Appeal allowed the Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools (Alliance) to continue operations at the former Van De Kamps Bakery site in an unpublished decision filed on April 2, 2014.

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Case Overview

The Second District Court of Appeal allowed the Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools (Alliance) to continue operations at the former Van De Kamps Bakery site in an unpublished decision filed on April 2, 2014. By way of background, the Los Angeles Superior Court issued judgment granting Van De Kamp's petition for writ of mandate on the grounds that the 2009 approval of a lease entered into between Alliance and the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) for a portion of the LACCD's campus violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Court of Appeal relied upon the Validation Act, which permits a public agency to validate certain acts within a 60-day period, particularly those which involve public bond funds. Where the public agency does not bring a validation action, the subject act becomes immune from attack unless an interested person brings a reverse validation action within the 60-day period. Because VDK did not challenge the lease by means of a reverse validation action within the 60-day period, the appellate court reversed the trial court's decision.

The case arose from the LACCD's 2001 acquisition of the historic Dutch Windmill and Van De Kamps Bakery in order to build a satellite campus. The LACCD had intended to build a state of the arts community college facility on the bakery site. However, due to a variety of factors, the LACCD decided not to operate the facility as a community college. Instead, LACCD entered into a long-term lease with the Alliance to use a portion of the site as the Alliance Environmental Science and Technology Charter School.

The Van De Kamps Coalition is an association of individuals and community organizations who originally joined together to provide support for the LACCD's acquisition of the Van De Kamp site for the development of a community college satellite campus. They filed several lawsuits challenging the use of the property after the bakery abandoned the property. When the LACCD determined that the site would no longer be used for the community college, the group filed a petition for writ of mandate alleging a violation of CEQA in an another attempt to invalidate the Board's approval of the new lease.

In issuing the writ of mandate invalidating the lease, the trial court concluded that the charter school tenants would create more afternoon traffic than the community college tenants and thus would exceed the PM trip cap. The court further concluded that a Supplemental EIR was required because the LACCD has no control of the class schedules and therefore no control over the number of PM trips.

The lack of appropriate and adequate facilities is one of the greatest barriers to charter schools educating the public school students that they seek to serve, especially in urban areas like Los Angeles, where the need is especially great, affordable and appropriate facilities are scarce, and LAUSD-provided options are limiting. Thus, CCSA filed an amicus curiae brief with the court of appeal.

Case Activity

April 2, 2014: Court of Appeal filed decision in favor of the LACCD/Alliance.
July, 25, 2013: Court of Appeal granted CCSA leave to file amicus curaie brief.
July 5, 2013: Alliance filed Respondent's XAO Brief.
June 6, 2013: LACCD filed reply brief.
March 20, 2013: Alliance filed Appellant Opening Brief.
February 14, 2013: LACCD filed Appellant's Opening Brief.
June 27, 2013: LACCD filed reply brief.
May 5, 2012: Trial Court enters Judgment against LACCD/Alliance

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