Dustin D. Peterson

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Dustin Peterson is a results-oriented attorney that is focused on helping both private and public sector clients find creative and efficient solutions to navigating complex environmental and land use issues.

His current practice focuses on land use and planning, and he is experienced in dealing with a variety of land use-related subjects and entitlements, including CEQA, the Housing Accountability Act, the Density Bonus Law, the Public Records Act, and the Subdivision Map Act. Using a strategic approach that utilizes his knowledge of both state and federal law, Dustin is passionate about helping clients resolve a wide range of environmental and land use issues. (Read more…)

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Design Changes to State Capitol Renovation Revealed in FEIR Did Not Adequately Allow for Public Input or Informed Decision-Making

In Save Our Capitol! v. Department of General Services (Jan. 18, 2023, C096617, C096637) __Cal.App.5th__, the Third District Court of Appeal held that the Department of General Services violated CEQA when certain design changes to the State Capitol renovation (Project) were not revealed until the final EIR (FEIR), preventing the public from commenting on the … Continue Reading

Construction of 90-Foot-Tall Lights at Athletic Field Not Categorically Exempt as either an Existing Facility or Construction of a Small Structure

Effective January 1, 2023, Thomas Law Group (TLG) will merge with Downey Brand. We are thrilled to welcome the TLG team to CEQA Chronicles and look forward to sharing their updates on important CEQA developments, new case law, legislation, and guidance. In St. Ignatius Neighborhood Assn. v. City & County of San Francisco (Nov. 18, 2022, A164629) … Continue Reading

Exhausting Administrative Remedies Does Not Toll the Statute of Limitations When the CEQA Determination Is Not at Issue

Effective January 1, 2023, Thomas Law Group (TLG) will merge with Downey Brand. We are thrilled to welcome the TLG team to CEQA Chronicles and look forward to sharing their updates on important CEQA developments, new case law, legislation, and guidance. In American Chemistry Council v. Dept. of Toxic Substances Control (Nov. 18, 2022, F082604) __Cal.App.4th__ [2022 … Continue Reading

Court Finds Site Visits and Reports Taken Before and After Issuance of NOP Adequate for Establishing Biological Resources Baseline, EIR’s Emergency Evacuation Analysis Upheld

Effective January 1, 2023, Thomas Law Group (TLG) will merge with Downey Brand. We are thrilled to welcome the TLG team to CEQA Chronicles and look forward to sharing their updates on important CEQA developments, new case law, legislation, and guidance. In Save North Petaluma River and Wetlands v. City of Petaluma (Nov. 14, 2022, … Continue Reading

Attorney General Issues Guidance Outlining Best Practices for Analyzing and Mitigating Wildfire Impacts Under CEQA

Citing the increasing prevalence of wildfires, the California Attorney General (AG) has issued guidance designed to help lead agencies comply with CEQA when considering whether to approve projects in wildfire-prone areas. Although the guidance does not impose any additional requirements on local governments or alter any laws or regulations, it does apprise local governments of … Continue Reading

2022’s New State Housing Laws

This week Governor Newsom signed a series of bills intended to accelerate housing development in California. Two bills – AB 2011 and SB 6 – seek to facilitate residential redevelopment of commercially zoned areas, though they contain stringent requirements that may put their benefits out of reach for many developers. AB 2097 largely eliminates local … Continue Reading

Another CEQA Victory for Conservation Groups in Tahoe, another GHG Mitigation Measure Held Inadequate

In League to Save Lake Tahoe Mt. Area Pres. Found. v. County of Placer (2022) 75 Cal.App.5th 63, the Third District Court of Appeal held that a land use specific plan and rezoning permit for commercial and residential development, including workforce housing, of forest land in the Martis Valley near the Northstar California Ski Resort … Continue Reading

Approval of Initial Entitlement Triggers CEQA Statute of Limitations, Even Where Project Requires Additional Entitlements for Implementation

In the partially published Crenshaw Subway Coalition v. City of Los Angeles (2022) 75 Cal.App.5th 917, the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment dismissing the claims of Crenshaw Subway Coalition (Coalition) alleging that the City of Los Angeles and the City Council (collectively, City), represented by the Thomas Law Group on the … Continue Reading

In Unpublished Opinion, Court Finds Los Angeles Development Project Description Accurate and Stable Despite a New Alternative Being Added to the FEIR and Approval of a Variation of that New Alternative

In the unpublished opinion, Southwest Reg’l Council of Carpenters v. City of L.A. (Mar. 7, 2022, B301374) [nonpub. opn.], the Second District Court of Appeal agreed with the City of Los Angeles (City), represented by Thomas Law Group, that an EIR for a mixed-use commercial and residential development (Project) contained an adequate project description and … Continue Reading

Impact Analysis and Mitigation May Be Located in Initial Study Appended to EIR; City Entitled to Deference on Interpretation of Its Municipal Code

In Ocean Street Extension Neighborhood Assn. v. City of Santa Cruz (2021) 73 Cal.App.5th 985, the Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld the trial court’s determination that the City of Santa Cruz (City) had complied with CEQA in approving a 32-unit residential project (Project) and overturned the trial court’s ruling that the City had violated … Continue Reading

Approval of Mixed-Use Development Found Consistent with General Plan, Other Planning Documents – Court Upholds Project’s Sustainable Communities Environmental Assessment

In Old E. Davis Neighborhood Assn v. City of Davis (Dec. 20, 2021, C090117) ___Cal.App.5th___ [2021 Cal. App. LEXIS 1114], the Third District Court of Appeal upheld the City of Davis’s (City) determination that a proposed mixed-use development project (Project) was consistent with the City’s General Plan (GP). The Court held that the City’s approval … Continue Reading

Small, Domestic Water Permit Deemed Ministerial, Exempt From CEQA

In Mission Peak Conservancy v. State Water Resources Control Bd. (2021) 72 Cal.App.5th 873, the First District Court of Appeal held that the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) streamlined permitting process for small, domestic water appropriations was ministerial, reiterating that “CEQA does not regulate ministerial decisions—full stop.” Mission Peak Conservancy and an individual (collectively, MPC) … Continue Reading

Strawberry Fields Forever – Coastal Commission Failed to Complete Environmental Review Before Project’s Approval Under Certified Regulatory Program and Engaged in Post Hoc Analysis

In Friends v. Cal. Coastal Commission (Nov. 15, 2021, H048088, H04809) __ Cal.App.5th __ [2021 Cal.App. LEXIS 1038], the Sixth District Court of Appeal found that the California Coastal Commission (Coastal Commission) violated CEQA by approving a coastal development permit without making specific findings about project alternatives and mitigation measures pursuant to the Coastal Commission’s … Continue Reading

Fourth District Finds City of San Diego Properly Summarized Revisions Made to Previous EIR in Recirculated EIR – City’s Decision to Build Road, Amend Planning Documents Were Quasi-Legislative Acts That Did Not Violate Any Procedural Rights to Due Process

In Save Civita Because Sudberry Won’t v. City of San Diego (Dec. 16, 2021, D077591) ___Cal.App.5th___ [2021 Cal.App. LEXIS 1055], the Fourth District Court of Appeal addressed CEQA and Constitutional claims related to a proposed roadway in the City of San Diego (City). In the published portion of the opinion, the Court held that the City … Continue Reading

Department of Water Resources Deemed Immune from Sacramento County Well Ordinance Requiring Permits for Geotechnical Drilling

In the Department of Water Resources Cases (2021) 69 Cal.App.5th 265, the Third District Court of Appeal, in a partially published opinion, found that the Legislature did not expressly waive the Department of Water Resources’ (DWR’s) sovereign immunity with respect to geotechnical drilling and boring when the Legislature enacted a statute requiring each county to … Continue Reading

In Consolidated Appeals, Third District Upholds Multiple Trial Court Decisions in Decades-Long Litigation Over CEQA Review of State Water Project Contracts

In Central Delta Water Agency v. Department of Water Resources (2021) 69 Cal.App.5th 170, the Third District Court of Appeal considered three consolidated appeals arising out of long-term water contracts that have been the subject of repeated rounds of environmental review and litigation lasting decades. In each of the consolidated cases, the Court of Appeal set … Continue Reading

GHG Mitigation Once More Found Lacking in San Diego County EIR; Fourth District Also Identifies General Plan Inconsistency but Upholds Wildfire and Air Quality Analyses in Unpublished Opinion

In the unpublished Elfin Forest Harmony Grove Town Council v. County of San Diego (Oct. 14, 2021, Nos. D077611, D078101) [2021 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 6474], the Fourth District Court of Appeal found that the County of San Diego’s (County) approval of the Harmony Grove Village project’s (Project) environmental impact report (EIR) did not employ … Continue Reading

Fourth District Finds Failure to Evaluate Consistency with CAP Rendered MND Incomplete Despite no Fair Argument of Inconsistency; Rejects Piecemealing, Project Description, and Aesthetic Impacts Claims, and Others as Barred by a Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies

In McCann v. City of San Diego (2021) 70 Cal.App.5th 51, the Fourth District Court of Appeal found that the Plaintiff, Margaret McCann (McCann), was barred from bringing a judicial action challenging the City’s approval of projects for undergrounding utility lines because she failed to exhaust the City of San Diego’s (City’s) administrative appeal process.  … Continue Reading
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