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The County of Sonoma (County) approved a development project for a warehouse and beverage distribution center. Prior to approving the project, the County conducted an initial study and issued a mitigated negative declaration (MND). The trial court held that the County had failed to send necessary notice to the Bay Area AQMD (BAAQMD) prior to adopting the MND. Rather than issuing a writ directing the County to rescind the project approval, the trial court held the approval in place while the County remedied its error. Once the County complied, the trial court entered final judgment in favor of the County. Petitioner appealed to the First District Court of Appeal, which ruled in favor of the County for two reasons. The Court first explained that providing notice to the BAAQMD is necessary. While the County had failed to provide notice for its revised negative declaration, the Court ruled the County’s error was not prejudicial because the County provided adequate notice to the public. The Court also upheld the trial court’s action in holding the project’s approval in place while allowing the County to notify the BAAQMD.

Key Point:

Trial courts may fashion CEQA remedies narrowly to address only the violation found by the court.

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