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The City of Rocklin (City) certified an EIR for a developer to build a 622-acre residential project. Petitioners sued, claiming the EIR was insufficient. The trial court found for the City. The Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the lower court’s decision, upholding the City’s approval of the project and the EIR. In challenging the certified EIR, the Petitioner presented several arguments, all of which the Court of Appeal rejected. First, the Court held that the City adequately described the conditions and the Native American cultural resources on the project site, sufficiently balancing the disclosure required by CEQA, and the federal and state law requirements prohibiting full disclosure. Second, the Court explained that recirculation of the revised EIR was not required. Recirculation is required only if there is new information added. In this case, the Court explained that the new information only adds a narrative detail; it does not change any of the EIR’s conclusions or analysis. Third, the Court held that an EIR is only required to provide a general description of a project’s growth-inducing effects. Fourth, the Court found that substantial evidence supported the EIR’s analysis and mitigation measures adopted for impacts to oak trees, aesthetics, California black rail, traffic, and water supply. Lastly, on a non-CEQA claim, the Court held that a project does not need to be in line with every policy in a City’s general plan. Thus, the Court upheld the trial court’s decision and denied the appeal.

Key Point:

CEQA does not require a lead agency to disclose confidential information regarding the location and nature of sites containing cultural resources. In consideration of state policy to protect sensitive cultural resource information, a lead agency is required only to provide a good faith discussion of these issues in an EIR.

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