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Tribe pays for developer not to open quarry in Riverside

Encino residents with commercial real estate concerns may be interested in the recent resolution of a dispute in Riverside County. For years now, the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians and a company called Granite Construction have been at odds over the site of a proposed rock quarry.

Central to the property dispute is that the site, which is on Pu'eska Mountain, is essentially a holy ground for the Luiseño people. According to the Pechanga chairman, "It is the Luiseño Garden of Eden, Dome of the Rock and Wailing Wall."

Additionally, other opponents of the would-be Liberty Quarry included environmentalists, local residents and city officials. Opening the 414-acre quarry was expected to produce hundreds of millions of tons of concrete, as well as provide hundreds of jobs and increase tax revenue. But opponents argued that the project would cause pollution and harm the area's tourism and wine industries.

In the end, the Pechanga Band handled the matter with two large payments. The tribe bought the site for $3 million and agreed to pay Granite Construction $17.35 million. In exchange, the company agreed not to mine within a 90-square-mile area that centers on the property. That agreement must stand for 23 years.

In addition, the tribe agreed to assist Granite Construction in its efforts to find another quarry site. The Pu'eska Mountain property, according to the Pechanga chairman, will only be preserved, as the tribe has no plans to develop it.

This dispute illustrates the fact that real estate transactions can require painstaking negotiation and strategic planning. If you would like to learn more about resolving real estate disputes, please visit our Encino real estate litigation site. Our firm represents buyers and sellers in a variety of matters related to real property.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Tribe to buy mountaintop site and end dispute over quarry plan," Frank Shyong, Nov. 16, 2012

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