On September 13, with the unanimous consent of the City Council, Sausalito filed a Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate and Complaint for Declaratory Relief in Marin County Superior Court against the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District to prevent the District from circumventing Sausalito's rights and obligations to the public by building a massive expansion of the Sausalito ferry terminal without the consent of the City of Sausalito. The case was subsequently moved to Contra Costa County Superior Court. On Friday, July 28, 2017 the City of Sausalito and the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District have executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to stay for six months the parties' pending litigation arising from the District's project to replace the existing ferry terminal located in Sausalito. Under the MOU, the Bridge District will submit newly revised plans for the project. This page provides information and materials on the lawsuit and is updated as necessary.
At the City Council meeting of September 13, 2016, Mayor Hoffman provided the following announcement:
"Many of you have been concerned and interested in the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District’s intent to build a new ferry terminal in Sausalito. Tonight I provide an update on this issue:
"The Sausalito City Council was prepared to consider the Bridge District’s request for Sausalito’s consent to the District’s revised plans for major alterations, additions and improvements to the Sausalito Ferry Terminal, as required by Sausalito’s lease agreement with the District, when on September 2, the District withdrew its request for Sausalito's consent under the lease agreement. The District informed Sausalito that in its opinion, Sausalito’s consent for the District’s proposed project is not required under the lease agreement, and that because the proposed project is “regional,” Sausalito has no land use authority over it, and no legal authority to limit or control the size of the Ferry Terminal expansion, which is located in the heart of Sausalito’s historic waterfront on lands owned by Sausalito under a public trust.
"Sausalito strongly disagrees with the District’s contentions, and therefore was compelled to file a lawsuit in the Marin County Superior Court in order to defend and confirm Sausalito’s sovereign authority and legal rights. We hope that the District will reconsider its position, and once again work cooperatively with Sausalito to design and construct an improved Ferry Terminal that appropriately balances the equally important objectives of improved regional transit, environmental protection and the preservation and protection of Sausalito’s historic waterfront held in a public trust."
The following are the letters received from, and sent to the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District, which were factors in this filing:
- Letter dated August 18, 2016 received from the Bridge District which included a supplement to the plans submitted on March 24, 2015
- City's response (dated August 22, 2016) requesting the District agree to extend the City's 45-day review period
- District's letter dated September 2, 2016 withdrawing its request for the City to consent to the plans for the replacement landing, and further withdraws any request to utilize City property, and asks the City to take no further action on the project
The following are the legal documents filed in the Marin County Superior Court on Tuesday, September 13, 2016:
- Civil Case Cover Sheet
- Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate and Complaint for Declaratory Relief
- Notice to the Attorney General
- Request for Hearing
- Election to Prepare the Record
- Notice of Commencement
On January 24, 2017 the case was transferred to Contra Costa County Superior Court. The following is the District's response to the City's complaint, the City's opposition, the District's reply, and Judge Barry Goode's ruling on the District's Motion to Strike SLAPP Suit.
- City's Opposition to Demurrer
- City's Request for Judicial Notice in Support of Opposition to Demurrer
- A. Friedman Declaration
- A. Merritt Declaration
- A. Politzer Declaration
- City's Opposition to Special Motion to Strike SLAPP Suit
- City's Proof of Service
- Notice of Order and Reassignment of Case from Contra Costa Superior Court
- Contra Costa Superior Court Ruling Denying the District's Motion to Strike SLAPP Suit
- Order Denying Special Motion to Strike SLAPP Suit
- Order Overruling Respondent's Demurrer Filed 5-8-17
- Defendant Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District's Answer to Verified Petition of Writ of Mandate and Complaint for Declaratory Relief
Timeline and Materials
The following is a timeline of events with links to materials. This timeline is updated as events occur.
- July 31, 2017: Joint press release from the City of Sausalito and the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.
- July 28, 2017: Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Sausalito and the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.
- June 27, 2017: Executed Order for Leave to File FAP and First Amended Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate and Complaint for Declaratory Relief
- May 25, 2017: City of Sausalito letter Re: Bridge District Building and Operating Committee’s Recommendation to Approve the Addendum to the Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration for the Sausalito Ferry Terminal Vessel Boarding Rehabilitation Project and Authorize Implementation of Modified Project
- May 24, 2017: City's Comments on District's proposed Addendum to the Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration for the Sausalito Ferry Landing Project
- May 22, 2017: The Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District released a staff report late Friday, May 19, 2017, proposing to "adopt an Addendum to the Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration for the Sausalito Ferry Terminal Vessel Rehabilitation Program and authorize implementation of the modified project." The District's Building and Operating Committee will consider this item on Thursday, May 25, 2017 - meeting starts at 9:00 am. The Board of Directors will receive the Committee's recommendation and consider the item at its meeting on Friday, May 26, 2017 - meeting starts at 10:00 am. Both meetings are held in Board Room, Administration Building, Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza. The meetings are open to the public.
- April 20, 2017: The Honorable Judge Barry Goode denied the District's Motion to Strike SLAPP Suit on April 20, 2017.
- September 26, 2016: City releases COWI Report - A peer review of the proposed GGBHTD float by City-contracted engineer; dated 9/26/16
- September 22, 2016: Mayor Hoffman sends letter to Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District in response to statements made by District Spokeswoman Priya Clements in IJ news article of September 14, 2016. Read Mayor Hoffman's letter.
- September 13, 2016: Lawsuit filed in Marin Superior Court on September 13, 2016. The case was subsequently moved to Contra Costa County Superior Court.
Sausalito Currents Articles Regarding the Lawsuit
- September 16, 2016: City of Sausalito Forced to Sue GGBHTD to Protect Historic Waterfront
- April 21, 2017: City's Ferry Landing Lawsuit Survives Early Challenge
- May 5, 2017: Currents article dated May 5, 2017: City Wins Again in Ferry Litigation
- May 24, 2017: Bridge District Meetings – Sausalito Ferry Landing Project
- May 26, 2017: Bridge District Seeks to Implement Sausalito Ferry Landing Project