Humboldt County filed a lawsuit against the owner of Tooby Ranch and a number of entities that had subsequently purchased portions of the ranch property, launching what observers predicted would be a major legal battle that would last for years.
The county charged that the sales violated the Williamson Act.
The lawsuit had no bearing on the Southern Humboldt Community Park, carved out of some 500 acres of the ranch area.
The Williamson Act was a state law that provided property tax incentives to owners who signed a contract agreement to keep their land in agricultural use.
The county wanted to void the previous sales and sought a preliminary injunction against what it termed illegal sales of the property.
The county’s lawsuit charged that Whitethorn developer Robert McKee, who bought the 13,700 acre ranch from the Tooby estate in 2000, with selling 38 parcels of the land to buyers who, according to the complaint filed in Humboldt County superior court, subsequently developed the property in ways that violated the contract with the county to keep the land as an agricultural preserve.
The suit alleged that McKee and his company, Buck Mountain Limited Partnership were also in violation of the state Map Act and the agreement that the late Arthur C. Tooby signed with the county in 1977 placing the property in an agricultural preserve.
Save-the-Redwoods-League entered into an option agreement to purchase approximately 600 acres from the Pacific Lumber Company. The land was covered with residual old growth redwood and Douglas fir situated on the steep slopes above the town of Redway. Hundreds of members of the Redway community and grassroots organizations had worked for years to secure permanent protection of the ridge.
Even though Riverview Productions had postponed that year’s Redwood Run from the traditional second week in June to mid-July, an alternate biker event was planned for June anyway.
Doug McCauley of Riverview reported to the sponsoring Kiwanis Club that damage to the road leading to the Redwood Run site had necessitated the date change to July to ensure that repairs could be completed.
The announcement “sent a lot of inn and motel owners into a tizzy,” Loreen Eliason of the Riverwood Inn in Phillipsville told members of the Garberville Rotary Club.
As a result, a group of organizers planned to stage “the first annual 101 Run” for the second weekend in June.
Amid warnings from superintendent Clif Anderson that without a parcel tax the Southern Humboldt Unified School District faced drastic cuts in programs and services in the face of the state’s revenue crisis, the board of trustees voted to pass a measure identical to the one that was defeated the previous November.
Measure A had received a 56 percent favorable vote but was defeated because a two-thirds majority was required.
The parcel tax committee felt that with the public aware of the drastic revisions that would have to be made in the district’s programs without the necessary funds, a second try stood a better chance of receiving the needed margin.
Updated reports from public agencies, business owners and residents in Humboldt County quintupled the preliminary $1 million estimate of the damage caused by storms that had begun on Dec. 14.
Members of the Humboldt County Board of Spervisors heard from the Office of Emergency Services that the loss from the back-to-back storms, which had dumped more than 24 inches of rain in the wettest December on record was estimated to be in excess of $5 million, and more reports were still pending.