Lafferty land fight intensifies

Public-access advocates say a settlement over the long-disputed gateway to Petaluma's Lafferty Ranch may be imminent, but adjacent property owners characterize the negotiations far differently.

Leaders of the Friends of Lafferty Park effort said Monday that two county maps from the 1860s may be the "final nail in the coffin" that will win a decades-old fight to gain public access to Lafferty Ranch, 270 acres of city-owned land northeast of Petaluma.

But an attorney for the adjacent property owners who oppose efforts to open the land as a public park countered Monday that negotiations are nowhere near a resolution.

Les Perry, who represents property owners including Kimberly Pfendler and the Bettman-Tavernetti family, said discussions have hit a snag as they near another court deadline March 24.

"It looks like we're not talking resolution," he said Monday.

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