Category: Negative Declaration

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Sixth District Upholds County Zoning Updates Against Piecemealing Claim, Rejects Challenge to Negative Declaration Based on “Wholly Speculative” Impacts

In March 2017, the Sixth Appellate District issued its decision in Aptos Council v. County of Santa Cruz, which rejected a two-pronged challenge to the County of Santa Cruz’s adoption of three zoning ordinances revising existing sections of the County zoning code, including an ordinance altering height, density, and parking requirements for hotels.  In affirming … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Rejects “New Project Test” and Defers to Agencies on Whether Project Modifications Require Subsequent Environmental Review

On September 19, in a long-awaited and unanimous decision, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District.  The opinion, authored by the Court’s newest justice, Leondra Kruger, resolves a split among the Courts of Appeal regarding the proper procedures for … Continue Reading

First Appellate District Upholds Use of Subsequent Mitigated Negative Declaration for Revisions to Use Permit for Religious Facility, Rejects Claim of General Plan Inconsistency

On August 31, the First Appellate District issued its decision in Coastal Hills Rural Preservation v. County of Sonoma, which centered on the applicable standards and appropriateness of proceeding on a subsequent mitigated negative declaration (SMND), rather than an environmental impact report (EIR) under CEQA, where changes had been incorporated in a religious facility use … Continue Reading

Sixth Appellate District Adopts Substantial Evidence Standard for Review of Lead Agency Determinations Regarding Historical Resources

In its August 12 decision in Friends of the Willow Glen Trestle v. City of San Jose, the Sixth Appellate District rejected a claim that the fair argument standard should apply to a lead agency’s determination regarding whether a resource is a historical resource for purposes of CEQA. In doing so, it became the second … Continue Reading

Appellate Court Rejects Urban Decay Claim Based on Lay Witness Opinion, Upholds Mitigated Negative Declaration

When cities and counties conduct CEQA review of a large-scale commercial development project including a major national chain like Wal-Mart or Costco, a common objection is that the project will displace existing, locally owned retail establishments, resulting in a significant impact on the environment, in the form of urban decay (or “blight”). This is generally … Continue Reading

Social and Psychological Impacts Related to “Community Character” Not Covered by CEQA

Is the “character” of a community part of the “environment” and therefore subject to analysis under CEQA, or is it instead a subjective state of mind of the people who live there?  An appellate court has now weighed in. In its decision in Preserve Poway v. City of Poway (March 9, 2016), the Fourth District … Continue Reading
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