Inzana v. Turlock Irrigation Dist. Bd. of Dirs., F075810

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtSNAUFFER, J.
Citation247 Cal.Rptr.3d 427,35 Cal.App.5th 429
Parties Anthony INZANA, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. TURLOCK IRRIGATION DISTRICT BOARD OF DIRECTORS, Defendant and Respondent.
Docket NumberF075810
Decision Date24 April 2019

35 Cal.App.5th 429
247 Cal.Rptr.3d 427

Anthony INZANA, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
TURLOCK IRRIGATION DISTRICT BOARD OF DIRECTORS, Defendant and Respondent.

F075810

Court of Appeal, Fifth District, California.

Filed April 24, 2019


Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard and Hanspeter Walter, Sacramento, for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Griffith & Masuda, Roger K. Masuda and David L. Hobbs, Turlock, for Defendant and Respondent.

OPINION

SNAUFFER, J.

35 Cal.App.5th 433

Turlock Irrigation District (TID) is an irrigation district formed and existing under the Irrigation District Law ( Water Code, § 20500 et seq. ),1 which grants irrigation districts authority to "do any act

247 Cal.Rptr.3d 433

necessary to furnish sufficient water in the district for any beneficial use." (§ 22075.)2

Anthony Inzana (Inzana), a landowner in the TID, planted over 160 pistachio trees within an easement Inzana’s predecessor granted TID to construct a pipeline, and which gave TID the right of access to maintain the pipeline. TID gave Inzana notice that he must remove the trees, as they violated both the easement and TID’s irrigation rule that prohibits certain encroachments being planted or placed within TID’s conduits or rights-of-way. Inzana appealed the decision to TID’s Board of Directors (Board), which upheld the tree removal order. When Inzana thereafter failed to remove the trees, TID refused to deliver water to Inzana’s lands, which is a remedy provided TID under its irrigation rules.

Inzana filed a petition for writ of administrative mandamus, challenging both the tree removal order and the cessation of his water deliveries. The trial court denied the petition. On appeal, Inzana contends (1) the trial court applied the incorrect standard of review, (2) the tree removal order is inconsistent with the law and lacks evidentiary support, and (3) TID did not have the statutory authority to enact the irrigation rules under which TID denied him irrigation water. Finding no merit to Inzana’s arguments, we affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In February 1988, the Board was granted 12.5 foot wide irrigation easements on three parcels of land located within Improvement District No. 103-C, known as the Crow-Grubb (the Crow-Grubb ID). The parcels had different owners – James Tomlinson owned Assessor Parcel No. 018-058-019 (Parcel 1), which was 59.13 acres, and Inzana and his wife owned Assessor Parcel No. 018-058-020 (Parcel 2), which was 97.35 acres adjacent to Parcel

35 Cal.App.5th 434

1.3 The Board accepted the grants of easements by resolution in March 1988, and the easements were recorded.

The easements granted "a right to construct, maintain, operate, and replace a pipeline and related structures thereon by said improvement district." In addition, the easement gave TID’s "directors, agents, employees and contractors ... the right to ingress to and egress from the above described easement for the purpose of operation, maintaining, repairing and keeping the pipeline and related structures in operating condition."4

Inzana and his wife purchased Parcel 1 in 2010. Inzana subsequently removed old almond trees that were on the parcel,

247 Cal.Rptr.3d 434

some of which he claimed existed within the easement, and planted approximately 2,400 young pistachio trees in their place. About 169 of those trees were planted along Berkeley Avenue, within the 1.2 acre easement, approximately three feet from the pipeline’s centerline.

The Irrigation Rules

In 2003, TID enacted "Irrigation Rules," which were revised in 2005 and 2009. The preamble to the rules states, in part: "These rules are established pursuant to Water Code Section 22257 to ensure the orderly, efficient, and equitable distribution, use and conservation of the water resources of the District." Section 2.3.1 of the rules provides: "No trees, vines, shrubs, corrals, fences, or any other type of encroachment shall be planted, or placed in, on, over, or across any District or improvement district conduit or any District right-of-way unless the District has given specific written approval for such encroachment." (Rule 2.3.1.) Sections 2.3.2 and 2.3.3 give TID the right to remove, at the encroacher’s expense, any unauthorized encroachment or encroachments on an improvement district right-of-way that interfere with the operation or maintenance of that facility.

Section 10.1 of the rules, entitled "Termination of District Water Delivery for Failure to Comply with Rules or Regulations" provides: "Failure or refusal of any landowner or irrigator to comply with any of these rules or applicable regulations ("rules and regulations") shall be sufficient grounds for terminating delivery of District water to the lands of such landowner or irrigator, and water shall not again be furnished until the landowner or irrigator is in full compliance with all rules and regulations." (Rule 10.1.)

35 Cal.App.5th 435

The Tree Removal Order

On January 30, 2014, Brian Borum, a TID survey right-of-way manager, sent a letter to Inzana which stated, in part: "Your property located north of Service Road and east of Berkeley Avenue in Denair has an improvement district pipeline that runs parallel with Berkeley Avenue. Recently, it was brought to my attention that new trees have been planted within the ID 103C Crow-Grubb pipeline right-of-way which will eventually cause a maintenance issue and potential pipeline damage due to the trees being planted too close to the pipe." The letter cited section 2.3 of the Irrigation Rules concerning encroachments, and stated that TID "does not allow any trees to be planted within twelve (12) feet from the center of the pipeline." Borum asked Inzana to relocate any trees closer than 12 feet from the centerline within 60 days "to avoid maintenance and operation problems in the future." According to Mike Kavarian, TID’s water distribution department manager, TID was concerned about trees planted within a pipeline easement because the growing tree roots eventually will impact the pipeline’s integrity, causing it to crack, leading to flooding.

On July 9, 2014, Kavarian sent Inzana a "Notice and Order" demanding that Inzana remove the trees within the right-of-way on Parcel 1 (the tree removal order). Kavarian began by stating that Inzana was asked to relocate the trees in the January 2014 letter and, "[t]o date, the trees have not been relocated nor have we heard from you." Kavarian continued: "As stewards of the improvement district we believe the tree roots as well as the continuous farming of this row of trees within our right-of-way will prove to be detrimental to this section of the Crow-Grubb ID if allowed to remain within the right-of-way. Therefore, we are requesting within the next thirty

247 Cal.Rptr.3d 435

(30) days the removal of the trees from the right-of-way. If the trees are not removed, the District will have the row of trees removed and you will be billed." Kavarian advised Inzana that he had the right to appeal the decision in writing within 10 days of the date of service of the tree removal order.

Inzana’s attorney, Robert Fores, wrote TID on July 18, 2014, rejecting the request to remove the trees and appealing the tree removal order. Fores stated that Inzana never received the January 2014 letter and asked TID to provide the basis of its claim. Fores also asked to meet with TID to resolve the matter informally. TID tolled the appeals process several times so TID staff could meet with Inzana and Fores to attempt to resolve the issue.

On August 22, 2014, TID Civil Engineering Department Manager Brad Koehn, Kavarian and TID’s attorney, Sara Lima, met with Inzana and Fores. At the meeting, Fores argued TID should have noticed much earlier than January 2014 that there were trees encroaching on TID’s easement. In

35 Cal.App.5th 436

preparation for the meeting, TID staff discovered that TID already had recorded easements for the Crow-Grubb pipeline signed by Inzana and Tomlinson in February 1988. Lima mailed copies of the easements to Fores and informed him that TID agreed to toll the appeals process to September 15, 2014.

On September 26, 2014, Lima forwarded a copy of the title report TID obtained which showed the easement for the Crow-Grubb pipeline on Parcel 1. Lima explained it was irrelevant when the trees were planted because the trees posed "a liability to the Improvement District facilities of which TID is a steward," were planted in violation of TID’s Irrigation Rules, and encroached on TID’s recorded easement. TID offered to extend the time to remove the trees to October 17, 2014, to accommodate the harvest season, and requested a response by September 30, 2014.

Lima then received a call from Fores asking TID to consider entering into an indemnity agreement, by...

To continue reading

Request your trial
6 practice notes
  • Cmtys. for a Better Env't v. Energy Res. Conservation & Dev. Comm'n, A157299
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • November 20, 2020
    ...judgment standard, depending on the gravity of the right at issue. ( Inzana v. Turlock Irrigation Dist. Bd. of Directors (2019) 35 Cal.App.5th 429, 440, 247 Cal.Rptr.3d 427 ; Strumsky v. San Diego County Employees Retirement Assn. (1974) 11 Cal.3d 28, 32, 112 Cal.Rptr. 805, 520 P.2d 29.) Se......
  • Southfork Ranch, LLC v. Bunn, 2d Civ. No. B279391
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • November 17, 2020
    ...evidence of any unreasonable interference within the easements. (See, e.g., Inzana v. Turlock Irrigation Dist. Bd. of Directors (2019) 35 Cal.App.5th 429, 443-444.) Going forward, appellants must secure approval from the trial court or receiver before removing or destroying Bunn & Birrell's......
  • Southfork Ranch, LLC v. Bunn, 2d Civ. No. B279391
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • November 17, 2020
    ...evidence of any unreasonable interference within the easements. (See, e.g., Inzana v. Turlock Irrigation Dist. Bd. of Directors (2019) 35 Cal.App.5th 429, 443-444.) Going forward, appellants must secure approval from the trial court or receiver before removing or destroying Bunn & Birrell's......
  • George v. Deamon (In re George), D073667
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • May 17, 2019
    ...841, 230 Cal.Rptr.3d 614.) Here, in contrast, George was fully aware well before the hearing that Deamon had submitted declarations in 247 Cal.Rptr.3d 427support of his motion for sanctions, and she therefore had the ability to take proper steps to assure that he was available for cross-exa......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • Cmtys. for a Better Env't v. Energy Res. Conservation & Dev. Comm'n, A157299
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • November 20, 2020
    ...judgment standard, depending on the gravity of the right at issue. ( Inzana v. Turlock Irrigation Dist. Bd. of Directors (2019) 35 Cal.App.5th 429, 440, 247 Cal.Rptr.3d 427 ; Strumsky v. San Diego County Employees Retirement Assn. (1974) 11 Cal.3d 28, 32, 112 Cal.Rptr. 805, 520 P.2d 29.) Se......
  • Southfork Ranch, LLC v. Bunn, 2d Civ. No. B279391
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • November 17, 2020
    ...evidence of any unreasonable interference within the easements. (See, e.g., Inzana v. Turlock Irrigation Dist. Bd. of Directors (2019) 35 Cal.App.5th 429, 443-444.) Going forward, appellants must secure approval from the trial court or receiver before removing or destroying Bunn & Birrell's......
  • Southfork Ranch, LLC v. Bunn, 2d Civ. No. B279391
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • November 17, 2020
    ...evidence of any unreasonable interference within the easements. (See, e.g., Inzana v. Turlock Irrigation Dist. Bd. of Directors (2019) 35 Cal.App.5th 429, 443-444.) Going forward, appellants must secure approval from the trial court or receiver before removing or destroying Bunn & Birrell's......
  • George v. Deamon (In re George), D073667
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • May 17, 2019
    ...841, 230 Cal.Rptr.3d 614.) Here, in contrast, George was fully aware well before the hearing that Deamon had submitted declarations in 247 Cal.Rptr.3d 427support of his motion for sanctions, and she therefore had the ability to take proper steps to assure that he was available for cross-exa......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT