Unfortunately, I could fill more than 17 parts with stories of the contradictory actions of the Anderson Valley Land Trust. But a few quick ones (other than being sued) come to mind:
One time, AVLT president Patrick Miller and AVLT vice President Steve Wood came to inspect my property. I met them in a field. As I greeted them, they informed me that they were going to be performing some private AVLT business on my property and that I was not allowed to accompany them or be present. For some reason, (I think I was trying to be helpful) I actually obliged their request and stood dumbfounded in that field while they walked off to inspect my property unsupervised. But I did call my family on the ol’ cell phone and was told to accompany them despite their request for private time on our property.
Another time that I met Steve and Patrick on my property, looking back, I think Patrick was hinting or threatening about suing me, even though I would have thought it a far-fetched prediction back then. As I accompanied them walking the property, Patrick commented on my golf cart. He stated that driving my golf cart around the property was not allowed and that he had been looking the other way and allowing my use of the golf cart. He stated that if I didn’t start doing things on my property the way he wanted, he would stop allowing the use of my golf cart. I asking him what my golf cart was doing that was not allowed. Instead of an answer, Patrick asked me a question. He asked what agriculture my golf cart was used for. I explained the fencing, livestock, water tanks, and other property maintenance that I used the golf cart for. I can best describe Patrick’s response as an audible scoffing noise. I was shocked that Steve Wood stood by silently during this entire exchange. I had little to no contact with the AVLT after this conversation, until I got sued.
All 30ish AVLT easement contracts around the valley have wording addressing the AVLT suing a land owner. My contract, like all others, says that if the AVLT thinks there is something happening on an easement property that is not allowed, that the AVLT has to give written notice to the landowner and allow 30 days for the landowner to begin working on the issue.
That wording is in the contract so that the AVLT has to give me written notice that a golf cart is a problem before they could file a lawsuit about it. When I got a lawsuit at my front door, that was the first time I had ever read that the AVLT thought there were unmitigated issues regarding my easement. Their lawsuit claimed a golf cart was violating my easement. Their lawsuit claimed a Facebook page was violating my easement. (Peachland Ranch)
Anyway, all those claims were false and made up, and the judge ruled as such. But here’s what I learned; The AVLT can violate the contract they have with me and there are no repercussions for them. By suing me for a golf cart and a Facebook page, the AVLT violated their contract. The contract mandates them to send me a written document, spelling out their issues. They decided to skip that step and go straight to a surprise lawsuit. That’s a serious violation of the contract that they signed. You can read all the details of the AVLT’s contract violations in the second document on Peachlandranch.home.blog.
But when the violations by the AVLT were introduced in court in the preceding’s of the trial, the judge ignored them. And that was the correct action by the judge. The judge can only rule on the issues raised in the lawsuit. Let me stress that again; only what is in the (plaintiff’s) AVLT’s lawsuit, or “complaint”, is what the judge is “allowed” to legally address or speak to in the ruling.
So, for me to get the Judge to rule on the AVLT’s violations, I would have to file a NEW lawsuit, against the AVLT, about them not sending a letter about a golf cart and a Facebook page. As I’ve stated before, my family taught me that meeting at the Drive-In for coffee and discussion is the appropriate Boonville way to handle things, and not with lawyers and lawsuits.
And for over ten years, the AVLT did meet and discuss things with my family. Until a change occurred. Steve Snyder, who does live in Yorkville, and has an easement on his property, stopped being the president. (And shortly thereafter quit the AVLT) Around 2015 the AVLT got a new president. David Hopmann. David owned a vacation house in Anderson Valley. My understanding is that he does not live in Anderson Valley. On the few occasions that David came to my property, he didn’t like what he saw. After David, Patrick Miller became the President of the AVLT. Patrick found many, many things on my property that were not to his liking. Paramount among them, a vehicle of Satan himself, The Golf Cart. My understanding is that Patrick Miller has never lived in Anderson Valley. He does own a Philo vacation house though. My guess is that he does not traverse said property using a golf cart.