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The City of Napa (City) approved revisions to the housing and land use elements in its General Plan. Upon concluding that the added revisions would have no environmental effects not already identified and mitigated in the EIR prepared for its original general plan from 1998, the City filed a Notice of Determination (NOD). Since the City filed an NOD, CEQA provides for a shortened 30-day statute of limitations. The NOD was received June 17 at 9:05 a.m. and was posted on June 17 at 10:00 a.m. until at least July 17 at 10:00 a.m. The question on appeal was whether the City has posted the NOD for 30 days or 29 days based on these facts. The First District Court of Appeal concluded that the City violated the 30-day statute of limitations by removing the NOD too soon. First, the Court explained that the 30-day statute of limitations is triggered when it is posted, not when it is filed. Second, the Court found that posting the NOD for only part of the 30th day was not adequate – the City cannot simply substantially comply with the 30-day posting requirement, but must have the NOD posted for the full 30 days.

Key Point:

To take advantage of CEQA’s provisions providing for a shortened statute of limitations, a lead agency must fully comply with the notice procedures set forth in the statute; substantial compliance is not sufficient.

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