By Staff Reports
(Apple Valley) — Citing multiple violations in the Town of Apple Valley’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) resulting in a failure to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), on December 16, Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company (AVRWC) petitioned the Superior Court of San Bernardino County requesting the Town suspend any further action until the EIR meets all CEQA compliance criteria.
“The Town’s EIR was done at great expense to taxpayers, but it is legally defective so we are compelled to bring this to court,” said Tony Penna, vice president and general manager of Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company. “If the Town files further litigation to attempt an eminent domain takeover of the water system, the waste of public funds will be enormous.”
AVRWC asserts the Town’s certification of the EIR and subsequent approval of a project to acquire the water system through eminent domain violates CEQA due to multiple instances of inadequate and incomplete explanations related to the project description including, but not limited to:
- the lack of any operational plan if the Town acquired the water system;
- an admission by the Town that it does not know who would operate the water system if it were acquired nor any consideration of another public agency or private company that might operate it;
- the impact to the Yermo water system if AVRWC was acquired by the Town;
- the impact of the Town doing its own regulation of rates through Proposition 218;
- the impact of future construction of facilities and system upgrades, and related impact to transportation, traffic and public safety;
- the lack of an explanation of alternative operational plans due to a flawed description of the project;
- and a lack of a hydrology and water quality analysis.
AVRWC maintains the Town government’s EIR document fails to comply with the requirements of CEQA because it is inadequate and incomplete in its project description, and assert its adoption was nothing more than a ruse to permit the Town to speed up the environmental review and expedite its pre-determined eminent domain action.
“We are requesting the court instruct the Town to suspend any future actions or decisions related to eminent domain until their EIR complies with all requirements of CEQA,” said Penna. “We have maintained from the start of the Town government’s takeover attempt that this process will be extremely costly to taxpayers in Apple Valley, divide this community and take a long time.
Regardless of the Town’s actions, our employees will continue to work hard every day to safely and reliably provide clean water continue our excellent legacy of service to this community.”
About Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company: Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company provides reliable, high-quality water service to about 63,000 people in the Town of Apple Valley and parts of San Bernardino County. Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company is a subsidiary of Park Water Company, based in Los Angeles County, which provides contracted and regulated water utility services.
In addition to Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company, Park Water owns Mountain Water Company, serving Missoula, Montana. Park Water and its subsidiaries provide safe, reliable drinking water service to approximately 300,000 people.
Additional information about Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company can be found by visiting www.avrwater.com and www.applevalleywaterfacts.com.