Photo of Breana M. Inoshita

Drawing on her educational background in community and regional development, Breana Inoshita assists governmental agencies and private clients with a wide variety of complex land use and environmental issues. (Read more...)

On January 5, 2024, the Third District Court of Appeal, upheld the Department of Water Resources’ (“DWR’s”) approval of amendments to long-term contracts with local government agencies that receive water through the State Water Project in Planning and Conservation League, et al v. Department of Water Resources, et al, etc. (2024) 98 Cal.App.5th 726.

The 2023 legislative session culminated in Governor Newsom signing dozens of land use bills. This post discusses the most important.

The Legislature continued its multifaceted approach to addressing the housing crisis, with the Governor signing 56 housing bills. The most important include expansions of SB 35 and the Housing Accountability Act.

Housing bills discussed

In United Neighborhoods for Los Angeles v. City of Los Angeles, et al. (2023) 93 Cal.App.5th 1074, the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed a trial court’s grant of a writ of mandate halting a project in Hollywood that would replace 40 rent-stabilized apartments with a hotel. The City of Los Angeles determined that

The Fourth District Court of Appeal, in Olen Properties Corp. v. City of Newport Beach (2023) ___Cal.App.5th___, upheld the City of Newport Beach’s approval of a 312-unit apartment complex challenged by a neighboring commercial development owner. To comply with CEQA, the City of Newport Beach prepared an addendum to an existing environmental impact report

The Second District of the Court of Appeal on June 8 ordered publication of its May 12 opinion affirming the denial of a writ of mandate that challenged the City of Buenaventura’s removal and relocation of a statue of Junipero Serra. Petitioner, the Coalition for Historical Integrity, alleged that removing the statue required CEQA review because it was a historical resource. The Court of Appeal upheld the City’s finding that the statue was not a historical resource and exempt from CEQA under the “common sense” exemption.

The California Supreme Court, on May 17, 2023, granted review of the First District Court of Appeal’s decision in Make UC a Good Neighbor v. Regents of University of California (2023) 88 Cal.App.5th 656, where the Court of Appeal invalidated the EIR for UC Berkeley’s Long Range Development Plan and a housing development at People’s Park. The appellate court found two issues with the EIR: (1) it did not sufficiently justify the decision not to consider alternative locations for the student housing project at People’s Park, and (2) it did not assess potential noise impacts from student parties. The decision invigorated calls for CEQA reform and attracted scrutiny for its recognition of “party noise” as an environmental impact.

The Sixth Appellate District, on May 10, 2023, published a decision in Preservation Action Council of San Jose v. City of San Jose (2023) 91 Cal.App.5th 517 upholding the City of San Jose’s certification of a final supplemental EIR (SEIR) for development of three high-rise office towers in downtown San Jose on a site that contained several historic structures. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s denial of the petition for writ of mandate and held that the SEIR’s consideration of proposed compensatory mitigation for historic buildings was sufficient and that the City adequately responded to comments requesting compensatory mitigation.

In Jenkins et al. v. Brandt-Hawley et al. (2022) 86 Cal.App.5th 1357, the First District Court of Appeal found that CEQA suits can be subject to malicious prosecution actions.  The Court of Appeal upheld an order denying an anti-SLAPP motion, allowing a malicious prosecution action to proceed against an attorney who litigated an unsuccessful

On April 20, 2022, the Third District Court of Appeal filed its opinion in We Advocate Through Environmental Review v. County of Siskiyou (2022) 78 Cal.App.5th 683, reversing the trial court’s judgment upholding the County’s Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) for a water bottling facility. The court held that (1) the County’s EIR for the

On May 11, 2022, the Third District Court of Appeal published its opinion in We Advocate Through Environmental Review v. City of Mount Shasta (2022) 78 Cal.App.5th 629, reversing the decision below and ordering the trial court to grant a petition for writ of mandate, specifying actions under CEQA that the City of Mt.