The Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District has filed a request for a hearing in its lawsuit against the city of Tehachapi. But according to its general manager, Tom Neisler, the filing made in Kern County Superior Court on Nov. 9 is procedural and does not mean that a hearing is imminent.

Challenging the city of Tehachapi’s Sept. 7 approval of the Sage Ranch project, the district filed suit on Sept. 16, claiming that the city violated multiple state laws in its approval of the planned development.

“The District’s accusations are both unfortunate and unfounded,” a spokesperson for the city said at the time. “Due to pending litigation, we have no comment at this time.”

The water district has asked the court to set aside the city’s approval of the 995-unit residential subdivision near Tehachapi High School — and possibly some other subdivisions totaling an additional 450 units dating back as far as 2006.

A settlement meeting required by the California Environmental Quality Act was held Nov. 3. Neisler said only that the meeting was productive; the city said it had nothing to report.

The case has been assigned to Kern County Superior Court Judge Kenneth C. Twisselman II. Judge Twisselman presided over two Tehachapi area CEQA cases filed in 2011 — Tehachapi First versus the city’s approval of an EIR for Walmart and a suit brought against the Board of Directors of the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District by the Tehachapi Critical Landuse Issues Group, also claiming CEQA violations in preparation of an EIR. 

Litigation under CEQA is different from civil cases, Neisler said earlier. Cases are decided based upon the administrative record.

“That could happen quickly or take considerable time depending on how responsive each of the parties are in providing information,” he noted.

Case information can be found online by searching for Case Number BCV-21-102184 at: https://odyprodportal.kern.courts.ca.gov/PORTALPROD/Home/Dashboard/29