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Talkington v. McCann

VICTORY!  City Council Unanimously Adopts Resolution Permanently Protecting Mill Valley’s Steps, Lanes and Paths

At its meeting on Monday, March 20th, the Mill Valley City Council voted unanimously to adopt a resolution that will achieve all of Save Our Trail’s objectives to RESOLVE, RECORD, and REMOVE.  This action constitutes a huge victory for the entire community of Mill Valley.

RESOLVE:  The Mill Valley City Council adopted a formal resolution permanently protecting 192 Steps, Lanes and Paths as official public property of Mill Valley.

RECORD:  The City will record a map of these SLPs in the Marin County Recorder’s office by August, 2017 and determine whether additional SLPs should be added to this inventory by December, 2017.

REMOVE: The City has committed to adopting an encroachment removal policy which will remove any encroachments to the SLPs now and in the future.

Chavez & Gertler LLP and Save Our Trails celebrated the outcome as well as the outpouring of community support and activism last week at their offices in Mill Valley. C&G and Save Our Trails praised Mayor Sloan, Vice Mayor Moulton-Peters,  and the entire City Council for their wisdom and leadership in favorably resolving this issue for the community.  This is truly a historic accomplishment for Save Our Trails and the citizens of Mill Valley.  The lasting legacy of the community’s efforts will be the permanent protection of the SLPs for future generations.

Victoria Talkington and Mark Chavez celebrate Mill Valley’s adopted Resolution to protect SLPs

Save Our Trails is becoming FRIENDS OF THE STEPS, LANES AND PATHS.  This new volunteer organization will be dedicated to preserving and promoting Mill Valley’s unique network of SLPs and supporting the City’s efforts to maintain and develop them. If you would like to be involved in creating this new volunteer organization, starting with attending an organizational meeting in May, please email joinFSLP@gmail.com. If you would prefer to simply be kept informed of the news and goings on of the Friends of the SLPs, please email newsfslp@gmail.com.


Read more about the settlement and the City’s adopted Resolution on Marin IJ.


Marin County Superior Court No. CIV 1603782

Winding through the woods and neighborhoods of the City of Mill Valley is an expansive network of steps, lanes, and paths (“SLPs”) that provide its residents safe and scenic access through the City, provide evacuation routes in the event of natural disaster, allow children to walk safely to school, and are included in the City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. The City owns and administers the SLPs in public trust for the benefit of its residents, and the General Plan requires that it provide adequate funding to keep them open, safe and accessible. The Plan mandates that official abandonment of SLP rights of way “should occur only in the most extraordinary circumstances and then only by vote of the City Council.” 

On October 18, 2016, Chavez & Gertler filed suit against Mill Valley City Manager Jim McCann to compel him to act to preserve and protect these historic resources. The plaintiff, Victoria Talkington, is a former Chair of the Mill Valley Planning Commission who has been actively involved in the City’s effort to inventory and revitalize the SLPs since 2000. She alleges that for years, the City and McCann have failed to fulfill their legal and fiduciary obligations to safeguard the SLPs, instead allowing private property owners to erect and maintain physical barriers, such as gates, fences, and “No Trespassing” signs that impede and prevent public access to the SLPs. Although plaintiff and other concerned citizens have repeatedly brought these matters to the attention of the City and urged Defendant McCann to take the steps necessary to preserve and protect the SLPs, they have failed to do so.

The lawsuit asks the Court to declare the rights of the parties and order the Defendant to take corrective action.

You may view the first amended complaint here.