Looking back, there was a chain of events that in some ways might have led up to the Anderson Valley Land Trust filing a lawsuit against my family.
For a few years, the AVLT kept finding new issues with us and our property. Issues that didn’t seem to be relevant to our easement, or issues that seemed to be part of many easements but were only “violations” on our property. The AVLT would tell us to remove “this” or clean up “that.” We would explain why “this or that” was not part of what our easement addressed, and we would be told that if we didn’t do their bidding by such and such a date, they would take legal action against us. (The part we should have been paying attention to was that all these issues and threats originated from just one board member in particular and the rest of the board just seemed to go along, either unaware or uninterested in our situation. Other board members like Dean Titus and Steve Snyder were sometimes temporarily involved, but then they would quit the AVLT and we would be back to the particular board member.)
So, we did everything they asked. Even when it made no sense to us. Like removing a Motorhome from our property when AVLT board member Steve Snyder kept (and keeps) a motorhome on his AVLT easement-controlled property.
That’s where we thought we had broken the chain of events leading to a lawsuit. No matter how ridiculous, we did what the AVLT asked of us. A year or so passed. The AVLT had asked nothing of us, as we had stopped any maintenance of our property. But then we got the lawsuit, out of the blue, that seemed to be listing all new “issues” that they had never mentioned to us. And all the “issues” listed in the lawsuit we knew to be untrue. At least we can say we tried our best to break the chain.
The lawsuit went to court on December 17, 2018. It was heard in civil court in the Ukiah courthouse by Judge Jeanine Nadel. I testified before the court, as well as board members from the Anderson Valley Land Trust. The AVLT lost the lawsuit in every way. Everything they asked for in the lawsuit was denied. I think that may have upset one board member in particular, and after the judge made her ruling, the AVLT started asking for a new ruling based on new information that was not part of their lawsuit at all. They still lost the lawsuit when the Judge made a final, revised ruling. If you want to know the details, go to Peachlandranch.home.blog and read the unfiltered facts for yourself and make your own conclusion.
So, why did this lawsuit happen? Why did all these locals and vacation home owners on the board of the AVLT file suit against my family? Why did they believe the statements they made in the lawsuit? What did they want to get from the lawsuit? Since the case was ruled in my favor, wouldn’t it seem that they did not achieve their goal? I would put forth the theory that they have achieved some of their goal, and that their goal may never have needed a “win” in court to be achieved. I think the answer may lie with one AVLT board member who can be rather… particular.