Category: Baseline

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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

Discretionary Reductions in Water Deliveries Allowed Under Terms of Existing Leases are not a New CEQA Project

In County of Mono v. City of Los Angeles (2022) 81 Cal.App.5th 657, the First District Court of Appeal held that a reduction in water deliveries by the City of Los Angeles (City) to lessees in Mono County (County) was not a new CEQA project, but was within the scope of existing leases. In 2010, the … 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

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

Hollywoodians Encouraging Rental Opportunities v. City of Los Angeles (2019) 37 Cal.App.5th 768, 772-773.

Hollywoodians Encouraging Rental Opportunities v. City of Los Angeles (2019) 37 Cal.App.5th 768, 772-773. The owner of an occupied, 18-unit rent-stabilized apartment building sought to demolish and replace the structure with a condominium project. After the City adopted a mitigated negative declaration finding that the project would not have a significant effect on the environment, the … Continue Reading

SUPREME COURT DELAYS DEVELOPMENT OF NEWHALL RANCH PROJECT

On November 30, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Center for Biological Diversity v. California Department of Fish and Wildlife, 2015 Cal. LEXIS 1043, addressing Newhall Ranch, a proposed 12,000 acre development project. The Newhall Ranch Specific Plan area, located in northwestern Los Angeles County in a portion of the Santa Clara River … Continue Reading

CITY OF SAN JOSE’S LANDFILL EIR UPHELD BY COURT

In an unpublished opinion, City of Milpitas v. City of San Jose, 2015 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 8610, the Sixth Appellate District upheld the City of San Jose’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared for the Newby Island Sanitary Landfill and Recyclery. The programmatic EIR assessed the impacts of: (1) increasing the maximum elevation of the … Continue Reading

FIRST APPELLATE DISTRICT FINDS AGENCY APPROVAL OF 10-YEAR MINING LEASES FAILED TO PROPERLY CONSIDER THE PUBLIC TRUST DOCTRINE

In San Francisco Baykeeper Inc. v. California State Lands Commission, 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 1024, the First Appellate District rejected several CEQA challenges to the California State Lands Commission (SLC)’s approval of 10-year sand mining leases, but reversed the trial court on this issue of whether SLC failed to properly consider the public trust doctrine … Continue Reading

NEW GUIDANCE ON BASELINES WHEN PROJECT IS REUSING OR REPLACING AN EXISTING BUILDING

On October 9, 2015, the Court of Appeal partially published the Fourth Appellate District’s opinion in North County Advocates v. City of Carlsbad (2015) 2015 Cal.App.LEXIS 891 (North County). The published portion of the opinion discusses an important exception to the traditional baseline determination under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Generally, the baseline consists … Continue Reading

Appellate Court Reverses Injunction for La Jolla Hillside Revegetation Project

In an unpublished opinion in CREED-21 v. City of San Diego, the California Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed in large part the trial court decision granting an injunction and other relief for violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) relating to emergency repair and subsequent revegetation of a hillside and storm drain in … Continue Reading

Appellate Court Upholds EIR for Perris Dam Remediation Project in Riverside County

In Paulek v. California Department of Water Resources, 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 999, the Court of Appeal for the Fourth District upheld the trial court’s denial of a writ of mandate challenging the Department of Water Resources’ (Department) approval of an environmental impact report (EIR) for a dam remediation project at Perris Dam in Riverside … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Issues Neighbors for Smart Rail Decision: Predicted Conditions Baseline Allowable Under CEQA in Limited Circumstances

In a much anticipated decision, the California Supreme Court held in Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority that lead agencies can use future predicted conditions as an environmental baseline in assessing the impacts of proposed projects. The court held that in order for an agency to omit the normally required existing … Continue Reading

A Dark Day for Hoover High School – Court Finds Mitigated Negative Declaration for Stadium Improvements Inadequate

In a decision that was ordered published on April 25, 2013, Taxpayers for Accountable School Bond Spending v. San Diego Unified School District (March 26, 2013) 2013 Cal.App.LEXIS 324, the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, held that a high school could not use general obligation bond revenue to pay for new stadium lighting because … Continue Reading

Appellate Court Upholds EIR Given its Discrepancies Are Minor and Present No Risk of Prejudice to the Environmental Review Process

In Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center v. County of Siskiyou (2012) 210 Cal.App.4th 184, Siskiyou County (County) approved a project to expand an existing wood veneer manufacturing facility for the cogeneration of electricity for resale.  The Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center and the Weed Concerned Citizens (Plaintiffs) sought a writ of mandate against County claiming … Continue Reading

Citizens for East Shore Parks v. California State Lands Commission (2011) 202 Cal. App. 4th 549

Petitioner petitioned for a writ of mandate, claiming that the California State Lands Commission (Commission) failed to comply with CEQA and the public trust doctrine in approving Chevron’s lease renewal for a marine terminal. The Superior Court denied the petition. Petitioner appealed to the First District Court of Appeal, which upheld the lower court’s decision. … Continue Reading

Pfeiffer v. City of Sunnyvale City Council (2011) 200 Cal. App. 4th 1552

After the Sunnyvale City Council (City) approved the expansion of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s medical campus and certified the project’s EIR, Petitioner filed a challenge arguing (1) The project was inconsistent with the City’s general plan; (2) The EIR failed to use a proper baseline for traffic analysis; and (3) The EIR improperly analyzed … Continue Reading

Madera Oversight Coalition, Inc. v. County of Madera (2011) 199 Cal.App.4th 48

Petitioner claimed the County of Madera’s (County) approval of a development project failed to comply with CEQA, Planning and Zoning Law, and the California Water Code. The Superior Court found for the Petitioner, holding that the EIR’s discussion of the water supply was inadequate. The Petitioner appealed to the Fifth District Court of Appeal claiming … Continue Reading

Third Appellate District Grants Partial Publication of CEQA Decision Relating to Agricultural Mitigation, Urban Decay, Res Judicata, and the Deliberative Process Privilege

In Citizens for Open Government v. City of Lodi (2012) ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (Opinion), the Court rejected Citizens for Open Government’s and Lodi First’s (Petitioners) challenges to the reapproval by defendant City of Lodi (City) of a conditional use permit for a proposed shopping center to be anchored by a Wal-Mart Supercenter (Project) after the … Continue Reading

Court Disagrees with Sunnyvale and Madera Decisions and Holds that use of Projected Future Conditions as a Baseline for Analyzing Environmental Impacts is Proper where Supported by Substantial Evidence

In Neighbors for Smart Rail v. Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority (2012 Cal.App. LEXIS 434), the Second Appellate District upheld the lead agency’s determination that a future 2030 baseline was proper for determining the significance of traffic and air quality impacts caused by a proposed light rail project in Los Angeles. The EIR at issue … Continue Reading

Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Retains Discretion to Select the Appropriate Baseline for Environmental Review of its Shorezone Amendments

TRPA adopted amendments to the shorezone regulations in 2008, setting development caps on the number of new buoys and piers allowed in Lake Tahoe, and certified an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the amendments. The League to Save Lake Tahoe and Sierra Club (Plaintiffs) challenged filed a lawsuit, alleging that the EIS failed to explain … Continue Reading

Agencies Can Make Adjustments to Environmental Baseline Early in the Review Process

In Citizens for East Shore Parks v. California State Lands Commission (Dec. 30, 2011) 202 Cal.App.4th 549, a citizen group challenged the California State Lands Commission’s (Commission) approval of a lease renewal for Chevron’s marine terminal in the San Francisco Bay near its refinery in Richmond, California.  At the onset of the review process, the … Continue Reading
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