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In Creed 21 v. City of Glendora (Feb. 19, 2013) 2013 Cal.App.Unpub.LEXIS 1193, the Second District Court of Appeal upheld the trial court’s denial of Creed-21’s (Creed) petition for a writ of mandate against the City of Glendora.  Creed contended the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the approval of an expansion of an existing Wal-Mart store violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  The court rejected each of Creed’s arguments.

First, Creed claimed the EIR failed to consider mitigation measures promoting the use of alternative modes of transportation to reduce the project’s traffic impacts.  The court disagreed, explaining the only additional mitigation measures necessary in this case were those related to the one significant impact identified that could not be mitigated to less than significant, which was an increase in trip rates at one specific intersection.  The court explained the mitigation measure proposed by Creed was aimed at a general reduction of greenhouse gases and vehicle miles traveled, and was not likely to result in a reduction in the trip rates at the impacted intersection.  Additionally, the court upheld the city’s reliance on traffic impact analysis guidelines issued by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, which explicitly stated that use of anticipated reductions from measures promoting alternative modes of transportation was not appropriate when determining whether the impacts would be reduced to a less than significant level.

Second, Creed claimed the EIR failed to adequately analyze the project’s potential urban decay impacts because the methodology used in the city’s study was improper.  The court rejected the argument, finding Creed did not meet the burden to show that the urban decay study relied upon by the city was clearly inadequate or unsupported.  The court concluded the city’s finding that there would be no significant urban decay impact was supported by substantial evidence.

Finally, Creed claimed the city improperly rejected an environmentally superior alternative to the project by rejecting a reduced intensity alternative without making an infeasibility finding.  The court disagreed, explaining Creed improperly interpreted a statement by the city that the reduced intensity alternative would, to some degree, meet project objectives to mean that the city did not find the alternative infeasible.  The court pointed to a more detailed explanation within the findings that clearly revealed the city determined the alternative would not meet many of the project’s objectives, and was therefore infeasible.  Creed also argued that, to the extent the city had found the alternative infeasible, its finding was not supported by substantial evidence.  The court rejected this argument, explaining the city’s findings that the reduced intensity alternative would not meet several of the project’s objectives constituted sufficient evidence.

Written By: Tina Thomas, Amy Higuera and Andrea Lutge (law clerk)
For questions relating to this blog post or any other California land use, environmental and/or planning issues contact Thomas Law Group at (916) 287-9292.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Thomas Law Group, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.

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