A developer who lost his ownership interest in a piece of property had no standing to seek a court order forcing a county to recognize a 19th century subdivision of the property, the Second District Court of Appeal has ruled. A unanimous three-judge panel of the Second District, Division Six, overturned a trial court's writ of administrative mandamus in the case. In 1995, Jack Munari applied to the San Luis Obispo County planning department for 577 certificates of compliance for 834 acres of range land near Paso Robles. In 1889, a subdivision map for the property had been filed with the county clerk, but the site was maintained for agriculture. In July 1996, the planning department rejected the application, saying the 1889 map did not create separate parcels under the Subdivision Map Act. Planners said they would allow only 135 lots to be developed. Munari appealed to the Board of Supervisors, which upheld the planning department in January 1998. The following month, Munari filed a lawsuit requesting declaratory relief, a writ of administrative mandamus, and compensation for inverse condemnation and violation of his civil rights. Four days after filing the suit, however, Munari lost the property in a foreclosure sale to William Zappas, a lienholder. Zappas then intervened in the suit and assigned the action to the Weyrich Development Company. Weyrich proceeded to settle with the county for 146 lots and dismissed the action. However, nearly three years after Munari lost the property, San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Burke granted Munari's motion for summary adjudication on his mandamus and declaratory relief claims. Judge Burke said that the 1889 subdivision map created valid lots under the Subdivision Map Act and the county was obliged to issue 577 certificates of compliance. The appellate court, however, never reached the merits of the case. "[A] mortgage foreclosure," Justice Arthur Gilbert wrote for the court, "divested Munari of all interest in the property prior to completion of judicial review of the administrative action. This makes it impossible for Munari to receive relief." "Moreover," Gilbert wrote, "Munari's successor-in-interest has settled with the County. It is undisputed that the settlement requires the County to issue significantly fewer certificates than the 577 certificates Munari sought." Munari argued that the trial court only ordered the county to vacate its position. Thus, should Munari reacquire the property, he would be entitled to the certificates of compliance. But the court refused to make such a hypothetical determination. "Under Munari's reasoning, a stranger to these proceedings could make the claim that he or she may someday acquire the subject property and, therefore, is entitled to petition for mandamus, " Gilbert wrote. "Hope springs eternal, but writ relief is temporal and requires firmer substance." The Case: County of San Luis Obispo v. Superior Court, No. B147202, 01 C.D.O.S. 5520, 2001 DJDAR 6739. Filed June 28, 2001. The Lawyers: For the county: Raymond Biering and Rita Sciaroni, deputy county counsels, (805) 781-5400. For Jack Munari: William Walter, (805) 541-6601.