Lafferty Ranch advocates say an easement over 905 square feet of private land standing between the public and the proposed nature preserve near Petaluma could finally be secured by newly discovered property records dating back to the Civil War era.
A surveyor's map cited in 1866 Sonoma County Board of Supervisors meetings as well as an 1869 deed from an adjacent property owner both create a bridge to the landlocked 270-acre preserve, said Petaluma City Councilman Mike Healy, a lawyer who is providing free legal work for the cause.
The documents came to light over the past month as advocates for the park off Sonoma Mountain Road northeast of Petaluma searched for additional evidence to support their lawsuit against opponents, who include neighbors Kimberly Pfendler and the Bettman-Tavernetti family.
"This is an incredibly positive development," Healy said. "We were hoping it was there and it was."
Les Perry, Pfendler's attorney, said he was reviewing the old documents to determine if they have relevance. He said previous documents cited by park advocates were ruled not determinative.