A dispute about trails Stanford University had agreed to build eight years ago as part of approval for a new general use permit from Santa Clara County is now heading for the state Supreme Court.
Palo Alto-based Committee for Green Foothills filed a lawsuit against the university and county in 2006 after a trails plan was approved by county supervisors in December 2005. The group claimed there was not adequate environmental review of the plan.
The Committee of Green Foothills lost the lawsuit when a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge ruled that the statute of limitations had expired on a legal challenge to the trails plan.
But a state appellate court has now reversed that ruling, allowing the Committee for Green Foothills to amend its case. The appellate court did not rule on the merits of the lawsuit itself, only that the case may be argued in court.
Stanford announced Wednesday that it will appeal the appellate court ruling to the state Supreme Court, as will Santa Clara County.
"We will join the county in an appeal to the California Supreme Court," Larry Horton, Stanford's senior associate vice president for public affairs, said. "The opportunity for public discussion has been extensive. Stanford has acted in good faith and is entitled to move forward on the basis of our agreements with the county."
The general use permit approved by Santa Clara County in 2000 allows Stanford to build an additional 2 million square feet of academic buildings and 3,000 new housing units. Stanford was to build two hiking trails as part of the plan.
Santa Clara County has approved the placement of a southern hiking trail but the location of the northern trail was unanimously rejected by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors in February. If the northern trail is not built, the $8.4 million Stanford would have paid to build it would revert to Santa Clara County for other recreation programs by Dec. 31, 2011.