Pubdate: Thu, 08 Oct 2015
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2015 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Monica Vaughan


A judge ordered the Yuba County Board of Supervisors to revoke a 
$16,000 nuisance abatement penalty imposed on the landlords of an 
Olivehurst property where a marijuana garden was found.

Yuba County Superior Court Judge Stephen W. Berrier filed the order 
on Friday in response to Jon and Amy Messick's legal challenge filed 
in May. Jon Messick is a former county planning commissioner.

A marijuana garden violated a county nuisance ordinance on the 
Messicks' property in the 4600 block of Ardmore Avenue. The Messicks 
were informed of the violation on Sept. 22, 2014, and the violation 
was corrected by Sept. 26, 2014.

The board held a hearing in February and approved a $15,974 
assessment against the Messicks' property for daily administrative penalties.

The Messicks challenged the fee during the hearing and later in court.

"Luckily, in our system, we have a judge who knows the law, can 
follow that law and can make sure that any government entity, 
especially Yuba County Board of Supervisors, do not run roughshod 
over their citizens, and that's what they've been doing with the 
marijuana ordinance," said the Messicks' lawyer, Roberto Marquez.

"They want to generate revenue, and that's what they're doing," he said.

Marquez had said the county is holding property owners liable for the 
sins of the tenants, and property owners are subject to civil 
liability if they violate tenant rights.

"All they can do is request action," Marquez said. He noted it takes 
30 to 90 days to kick tenants out.

In his order, Berrier cited county code that provides an exception to 
an owner's responsibility to abate a public nuisance if the owner 
"did not cause, permit, or otherwise allow the existence of the 
violation and cannot legally abate said violation but has reasonably 
taken action to do so."

Chief Deputy County Counsel John Vacek said the county is considering 
appealing Berrier's decision.
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