The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors today agreed to settle a lawsuit filed in April 2012 by Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights regarding the county’s practice of “shading” parcels. The settlement will allow the county to avoid the time and expenses associated with trial, and instead focus on providing services to Humboldt County residents.
In September 2011, in an attempt to resolve the shaded parcel issue, the Planning Division sent letters to individuals who owned parcels of land where the legal status of that parcel was uncertain. These parcels were “shaded” in parcel-map books or otherwise noted in county records to indicate that a parcel’s compliance with the Subdivision Map Act is unknown. This lawsuit was filed in the spring of the following year.
According to the settlement, the county:
• has ceased its former practice of “shading” parcels and will not perform this practice in the future;
• will finish reviewing the parcels that received “shaded” parcel letters in September 2011, and will notify parcel owners whether it determined their parcel to be lawful;
• will, after reviewing the parcels for compliance, maintain a publically available list of parcels for which the county is unable to resolve its compliance status;
• will notify owners and carry out appropriate action when it acquires knowledge that property has been divided in violation of the Map Act.
The settlement also agrees that neither party needs to admit liability on this issue. The issue of who bears responsibility for attorneys’ fees will be submitted to the court for resolution.