One year after the retirement of Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Mark Tansil, Gov. Jerry Brown still has not appointed a successor, leaving court officials wondering if a replacement will be named before the deadline for the next election.
Santa Rosa quietly paid more than $327,000 earlier this year to the law firm that successfully challenged a special city tax on new developments. And it did so without ever telling the public.
Santa Rosa is being sued over the taxing structure underlying plans to intensify development around the future rail station near Coddingtown mall.
Closure of Doyle Park Elementary School would be avoided for now under a tentative agreement between Doyle Park supporters and the Santa Rosa City Schools district. Sources say the preliminary agreement would allow Doyle Park students to remain at the school at least for a year, sharing the campus with the district’s new French American Charter School. The deal would effectively settle a lawsuit filed by a group fighting to keep the school open.
California residents cannot legally drive while holding just a foreign license and their cars could be subject to 30-day impounds. That was the tentative ruling Tuesday from a Sonoma County judge in the case of a Rohnert Park man who was cited four times for driving without a California license.
A tentative ruling from a Sonoma County judge will keep a Larkfield medical marijuana dispensary closed while it goes through the county permitting process. Judge Mark Tansil ruled that Sonoma County has an interest in enforcing zoning laws, deterring violations from other marijuana clubs and protecting the public.
Santa Rosa must pay nearly a quarter of a million dollars in attorneys fees and court costs to the homebuilders group that successfully challenged the legality of a city tax on new subdivisions. Superior Court Judge Mark Tansil said the group performed an important public service in protecting people’s voting rights.
Santa Rosa will not appeal the ruling of a judge who found a special city property tax on new homes unconstitutional. The city will scrap the 2008 ordinance and draft another that will address the legal concerns raised by the judge. The annual tax – which imposed a $430 surcharge on each new home – was designed to pay for the city’s cost of providing police, fire and other services to new subdivisions.
A special property tax passed by Santa Rosa is unconstitutional because it forces property owners to give up their voting rights in exchange for the right to subdivide their property, a judge ruled Friday.
In 2008, Santa Rosa began requiring developers to join a special taxing district before they could get development permits. But a Sonoma County judge now says the tax appears to be unconstitutional. The ordinance required new homeowners to pay $430 a year to cover the cost of extending city services to new neighborhoods.