Tag: Fourth Appellate District

Fourth Appellate District Upholds City of San Diego’s Rejection of Subdivision Project and Related MND

CEQA decisions usually arise in the context of a challenge to a lead agency’s approval of a project and a related CEQA document.  However, in a recent decision, Kutzke v. City of San Diego (2017) 11 Cal.App.5th 1034 (certified for publication on May 23, 2017), the Fourth Appellate District resolved a court action arising from a … Continue Reading

The California Supreme Court Has a Banner Week, Hearing Argument in Three CEQA and Land Use Cases

On May 3–4, 2017, the California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in three cases with significant implications for California land use law. Below we summarize the main issue(s) argued in each matter and possible outcomes. Because many of these cases have been pending for years, the Court that originally voted to grant review has since … Continue Reading

Limitations on Subsequent Review Under CEQA

Since the California Supreme Court’s 2016 ruling in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District, California appeals courts have issued a spate of decisions addressing subsequent review under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”), including two in the last two months of 2016.  In both cases, the … Continue Reading

Fourth District Leaves Door Open for Attorney-Fee Award to Real Party in Interest

The Fourth District Court of Appeal recently issued its opinion in Save Our Heritage Organisation v. City of San Diego (2017) 11 Cal.App.5th 154, the latest round of litigation over the site development plan for a revitalization project in San Diego’s Balboa Park, finding that, under some circumstances, a project proponent may recover attorneys’ fees … Continue Reading

Fourth Appellate District Upholds EIR for 200-Acre Specific Plan Development in Riverside County

In its February 14 decision (certified for publication on March 15) in Residents Against Specific Plan 380 v. County of Riverside, the Fourth Appellate District upheld the County of Riverside’s (“County’s”) approval of a master-planned community.  The opinion provides helpful guidance for lead agencies and applicants in understanding when changes made to a project in … Continue Reading

Local Ordinance Regulating Medical Marijuana Dispensaries is Not a “Project” Subject to CEQA Review, Fourth Appellate District Rules (Again)

In its October 14 decision in Union of Medical Marijuana Patients, Inc. v. City of San Diego, the Fourth Appellate District weighed in for the second time this year on whether a city ordinance regulating medical marijuana dispensaries is subject to CEQA review. As in the first case, which was brought by the same petitioner … 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

Appeals Court Finds Wal-Mart EIR Deficient and Overturns Development Approval Due to Inadequate Map Act Findings

Cities and counties across the state have revised their general plan policies to address the interrelated issues of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy consumption by new commercial and residential development, often in proactive and innovative ways. However, the rubber only meets the road when those projects undergo CEQA review, and courts evaluate whether those … Continue Reading

Downey Brand’s Spring 2016 CEQA and Land Use Litigation Update

I recently had the privilege of presenting the annual CEQA and Land Use Litigation Update at this year’s League of California Cities City Attorneys’ Spring Conference in Newport Beach. The annual conference is attended by more than 450 city attorneys and other legal professionals from across California, and addresses a host of cutting-edge legal issues … Continue Reading

Appeals Court Affirms Cadiz Valley Groundwater Project

In a series of sweeping opinions, the Fourth Appellate District on Tuesday, May 10, upheld the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project against six separate challenges brought by a host of environmental organizations and a salt mining operation. The Cadiz Project, initiated by the Santa Margarita Water District (SMWD) and Cadiz, Inc. in … 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

Appellate Court Upholds Local Restrictions on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Against CEQA Challenge

Local regulation of the medical marijuana industry has become a hot-button area of controversy. New ordinances are routinely being proposed and adopted – and then challenged in court. In a March 25 opinion filed in Union of Medical Marijuana Patients, Inc. v. City of Upland, the Fourth Appellate District weighed in on one such local dispute, … Continue Reading
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