City’s appeal of courts’ gas station rulings is final

Editor’s note: The printed version of this article said the judge ordered City Council to conduct another vote “within 60 days.” The judge’s order did not include a deadline.

The holdings of two courts that developer Paul Petrovich was unfairly treated in 2015 when City Council denied permission for a 16-pump gas station adjacent to Safeway in Crocker Village are now final.

On Aug. 12, the California Supreme Court rejected a request by the California League of Cities and California State Association of Counties to depublish the decision of the Third District Court of Appeal so that it couldn’t be used as precedent in future cases. On its own motion, the high court also declined to review the lower-court decisions.

In April, the appeals court had affirmed the 2018 decision of Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny that Councilmember Jay Schenirer demonstrated “an unacceptable probability of actual bias” and failed to act in an open-minded manner before the Council voted 7-2 in 2015 to deny Petrovich a conditional use permit for the gas station.

Judge Kenny’s decision didn’t comment on the merits of whether the permit should have been granted. Instead, the judge pointed to text messages between Schenirer and Eric Johnson, who was then SCNA president, as evidence that Schenirer had made up his mind about the project before the Council hearing.

The judge ordered City Council to hold a new hearing on the project. Instead, the Council voted six days later to appeal. That appeal is now over. So, now the issue is back to City Council for a new hearing.

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