Sean Janssen, The Union Democrat

Calaveras County has sued Lake Tulloch Resort to put a stop to "bump parties" it claims are not consistent with the Copperopolis venue's zoning.

The county filed suit Sept. 4 in the Calaveras County Superior Court and received notice that the resort had been served a copy on Monday, County Counsel Janis Elliott announced this week.

Elliott added that the Board of Supervisors authorized the litigation in a July 5 closed session.

She declined to comment any further on the filing.

Resort owner Bernadette Cattaneo could not be reached for comment Thursday. In previous interviews with The Union Democrat, she has expressed frustration with the county's moves to further clamp down on the occasional events that have drawn as many as 2,000 revelers in a "spring break"-like atmosphere the past two years.

She opposed a county noise ordinance unanimously approved this month and set to take effect on Oct. 25. County planners and the Board of Supervisors acknowledged the ordinance came forward after numerous complaints about the bumps as well as the 72-hour "Wood Whomp Festival" near Sheep Ranch.

In July, Cattaneo said because the property is zoned for commercial use, and the entirety of the events take place outside and comply with occupancy codes, she is well within her rights to hold the bumps.

"I'm just on my normal day-to-day operations," she said. "I have my business license, my liquor licenses … we run a tight ship here. I know what I'm doing and I know what I'm allowed to do."

She further bristled at proposed changes to special event permitting that would require a conditional use permit and more than $4,000 in processing fees to allow events like the bump parties. Those changes are still being studied and developed by county Planning Department staff.

The resort contracts with the Calaveras County Sheriff's Department to provide a law enforcement presence at each event. A bump in June generated a $6,100 bill, Cattaneo said.

Neighbors have complained of both noise and trespassing during bump events. The parties have generated as many as two dozen arrests at a single event and brought out the California Highway Patrol to issue parking citations and have vehicles towed from the right-of-way.

Cattaneo said that, ideally, she would not have to host the bumps but must do so to make ends meet at the long-struggling resort. She has repeatedly expressed an interest in converting the resort into a drug rehabilitation center if prohibited from operating as it does now.