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Friday, Sep 21 2012 04:54 PM

Judge denies petition to halt new hospital

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Tehachapi may get a new hospital after all since a Kern County Superior Court judge ruled on Friday, Sept. 21, in favor of the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District in a lawsuit filed late last year challenging the adequacy of environmental review. File photo

Progress on a new Tehachapi Hospital will resume. 

That was the word from a Kern County Superior Court Judge on Friday in downtown Bakersfield.

Honorable Kenneth C. Twisselman II, tossed aside a suit brought against the Board of Directors of the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District by the Tehachapi Critical Landuse Issues Group, contending that the board violated  several areas of the California Environmental Quality Act when filed its environment impact report.

The Writ of Mandate, filed Nov. 18, 2011, contended that the board's approval of the new hospital resulted in several violations of  CEQA in the areas of Inadequate Project Description, Fair Argument Standard, Aviation Safety Impacts, Land Use Compatibility Impacts, Geotechnical Impacts, Traffic Impacts, Growth-Inducing Impacts, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Emergency Response Impacts, Water Supply Impacts, Aesthetic Impacts, and Noise Impacts.

After hearing arguments from both sides, Twisselman said he was going to adopt and confirm on record, his tentative decision from earlier in the day that the petition for Writ of Mandate be denied.

“We're very pleased with the judge's decision,” said hospital attorney Scott Nave.

“Judge Twisselman put a lot of thought, time, and effort into his ruling.”

Nave said that at all times the hospital has done its best, to in good faith fully comply with the law in moving this project along.

“We are pleased we can proceed now,” he added. “And look forward to providing the community with a beautiful new hospital facility.”

Earlier in the proceedings, Twisselman discussed his tentative decision — before hearing arguments from the attorneys. He told a packed downtown Bakersfield courtroom  that he was inclined to deny the petition filed against the Board of Directors of the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District by the Tehachapi Critical Landuse Issues Group.

Twissleman also stated that the rules regulating the environment must not be subverted to an instrument for suppression and delay of social or economic recreational development and advancement.

“CEQA requires a good faith effort and full disclose, it does not mandate perfection,” he added, “Nor does it require an analysis to be exhaustive.”

He also went on to say, that the absence of information in an EIR, does not per se constitute a prejudicial abuse of discretion.

He concluded by saying, that the court finds no substantial evidence in the record supporting argument that this project may have a substantial impact on the environment, nor does does the court find substantial evidence the agency's  analysis of the project has potential environmental impact.”

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