Category: Biological Resources

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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

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

CEQA Lawsuit, Latest in Decades of Local Opposition Delaying Marin County Housing Development, Met with Judicial Rebuke: “Something is very wrong with this picture”

In Tiburon Open Space Committee v. County of Marin (2022) 78 Cal.App.5th 700, the First District Court of Appeal considered the adequacy of an EIR certified by Marin County (County) for a residential development. The Court rejected a number of arguments raised by opponents, most prominently the argument that the EIR erred in recognizing limits on … Continue Reading

Court Finds Bumble Bees Fit within Statutory Definition of a “Fish;” All Invertebrates Eligible for Listing under California Endangered Species Act

In Almond Alliance of California v. Fish & Game Com. (2022) 79 Cal.App.5th 337, the Third District Court of Appeal held that the Fish and Game Commission (Commission) did not exceed its statutory authority under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) when the Commission designated four bumble bee species as candidate species for consideration under … 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

Second District Court of Appeal Upholds Challenge to an MND for a Mixed-Use Project on Environmentally Sensitive Hillside and Award of Attorney Fees

In Save the Agoura Cornell Knoll v. City of Agoura Hills (February 24, 2020) 2020 Cal. App. LEXIS 222, in a detailed decision, the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgement and concluded that a proposed mixed-use development project in Los Angeles County presented potentially significant impacts requiring the preparation of an … Continue Reading

Maacama Watershed Alliance v. County of Sonoma (2019) Cal.App.5th 1007

Maacama Watershed Alliance v. County of Sonoma (2019) Cal.App.5th 1007 In 2015, Knight Bridge Vineyards LLC sought approval from the County of Sonoma to develop a two-story, 5,500 square foot winery, a 17,500 square foot wine cave, tasting room, wastewater treatment and water storage facility, fire protection facility, and mechanical area on an 86-acre parcel … Continue Reading

Private Attorney General Doctrine Attorney’s Fee Award Proper Where Financial Burden Disproportionate to Financial Stake

In Heron Bay Home Owner’s Association v. City of San Leandro (2018) 19 Cal.App.5th 376, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed a trial court judgement awarding partial attorneys’ fees where the financial burden of enforcement made an award appropriate pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5. The Heron Bay Homeowners’ Association (Heron Bay) … Continue Reading

Third District Court of Appeal Gives Great Deference in Quasi-Judicial Agency Decision Not to Delist Coho Salmon, Ending Decades-Long Dispute

In Central Coast Forest Association v. Fish and Game Commission (2018) 18 Cal. App. 5th 1191, the California Third District Court of Appeal found the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) was correct to deny a petition to delist coho salmon from state protection under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). Deferring to the scientific … Continue Reading

FOURTH APPELLATE DISTRICT REJECTS CHALLENGE TO MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION FOR A RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECT

In an unpublished decision, Save Desert Rose v. City of Encinitas, 2015 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7685, the Fourth Appellate District reversed the judgment of the trial court and held Save Desert Rose (Petitioner) failed to demonstrate that substantial evidence supported a fair argument that a proposed 16 single-family home subdivision project (Project) may have … Continue Reading

Second District Court of Appeal Upholds EIR for Development Along Santa Clara River

In an unpublished opinion in Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment v. City of Santa Clarita, 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 8998, the California Second District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court and denied a petition for a writ of mandate challenging a 185-acre development (the Project) along the Santa Clara River … Continue Reading

Addendum Upheld: Amendments to San Jose Airport Master Plan Cleared For Landing

In Citizens Against Airport Pollution v. City of San Jose (2014) Cal. App. LEXIS 588, the Court of Appeal for the Sixth District upheld the trial court’s denial of a writ of mandate challenging the City of San Jose’s (the City) approval of an addendum to an EIR analyzing the environmental impacts of amendments to … Continue Reading

Mining the Administrative Record for Answers: Appellate Court Reverses Trial Court for Ignoring Substantial Evidence and Making Improper De Novo Determinations on Quarry Project

In an unpublished decision, Citizens Advocating for Roblar Rural Community v. County of Sonoma, 2014 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 3393, the Court of Appeal for the First District reversed the trial court’s decision granting a petition for writ of mandate that challenged County certification of a final environmental impact report (EIR) and issuance of necessary … Continue Reading

Sixth District Thirsty for a More Robust Alternatives Analysis

In Habitat v. City of Santa Cruz (Feb. 19, 2013) 2013 Cal.App.LEXIS 128, the Sixth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court decision and ordered the City of Santa Cruz (City) to vacate its certification of the final EIR and approval of a project because the EIR failed to discuss any feasible project alternatives … Continue Reading

City Properly Analyzed Community Park Project Separately from Adjacent Housing Development

In Banning Ranch Conservancy v. City of Newport Beach (2012) 2012 Cal.App.LEXIS 1259, the Fourth District Court of Appeal issued a decision upholding the trial court’s denial of Banning Ranch Conservancy’s challenge to the City of Newport Beach’s (City) environmental impact report (EIR) for Sunset Ridge Park (Park Project).  Petitioner alleged that the Park EIR … Continue Reading

EIR Found Deficient With Regard to Water Supply Impacts and Deferred Butterfly Mitigation

In Preserve Wild Santee v. City of Santee (2012) 2012 Cal. App. LEXIS 1091, petitioners challenged the City of Santee’s (City) certification of a final environmental impact report (EIR) for a development project in the City, claiming the project violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in several ways.  The trial court found merit in … Continue Reading
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