Tag: CEQA challenges

Second Appellate District Upholds PG&E Lease Extension as Categorically Exempt from CEQA, Finds Unusual Circumstance Exception Inapplicable to Extension of Nuclear Power Plant Lease

In World Business Academy v. California State Lands Commission (2018) 24 Cal.App.5th 476, the Second Appellate District determined that renewing a lease for an existing power plant constituted a categorically exempt “existing structure” project under CEQA and the record did not support an “unusual circumstances” exception to the exemption. Diablo Canyon Power Plant is a … Continue Reading

First Appellate District Denies Initial Study Noise Level Challenge to Transitional Housing Project Based on Non-Expert Analysis

In Jensen v. City of Santa Rosa (2018) 23 Cal.App.5th 877, the First Appellate District held that noise impacts from a proposed youth center and transitional housing project were properly analyzed and approved with a negative declaration (ND) where the City of Santa Rosa’s (City) acoustic expert found no noise impacts above the baseline would … Continue Reading

Fourth District Court of Appeal Finds Minor Telecommunications Facility on Dedicated Park Land Is Not An “Unusual Circumstance” Exception to CEQA Small Facility Exemption

In Don’t Cell Our Parks v. City of San Diego (2018) 21 Cal.App.5th 338, the Fourth District Court of Appeal found that the San Diego City Charter (Charter 55) did not prohibit the City of San Diego (City) from approving a telecommunications project within real property held in perpetuity by the City for “park purposes.” The … Continue Reading

Second District Court of Appeal Upholds Interlocutory Remand in Shopping Center Project Challenge, Clarifies General Plan Relationship with Projects

In The Highway 68 Coalition v. County of Monterey (2017) 14 Cal.App.5th 883, the Sixth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court and upheld the County’s approval of a shopping center proposed by Omni Resources LLC (“Omni”), known as the Corral de Tierra Neighborhood Retail Village (“Project”). The Project, proposed for construction on eleven … Continue Reading

Court of Appeal Views Appellants’ Failure to Present and Discredit Evidence favorable to the Agency as a Concession that Substantial Evidence Does In Fact Support Agency

In an unpublished decision, El Pueblo Para El Aire Y Agua Limpio v. Kings County Board of Supervisors, 2012 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 4984, Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice and El Pueblo Para El Aire y Agua Limpio (collectively appellants) sued the Kings County Board of Supervisors (County) alleging that the County’s approval of … Continue Reading

Newly Published Appellate Decision Holds Analysis of Parkland Impacts for Campus Master Plan Fails to Comply with CEQA

The City of Hayward v. Board of Trustees of the California State University, 2012 Cal. App. LEXIS 761, publication status was recently changed from unpublished to published on June 28, 2012. The Board of Trustees of the California State University (Trustees) approved a master plan to guide the expansion of the Hayward campus. The City … Continue Reading

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Petitioners Must Exhaust Their Administrative Remedies Prior to Challenging an Agency’s Decision That a Project is Categorically Exempt from CEQA

In Tomlinson v. County of Alameda (Case No. S188161), the Supreme Court of California held that the exhaustion of administrative remedies provision as set forth in Public Resources Code section 21177, subdivision (e), applies to a public agency’s decision that a project is categorically exempt from CEQA. The Court’s eleven page decision put to rest … Continue Reading

Governor Brown Seeks to Insulate California High Speed Rail From CEQA Challenges

Governor Brown’s office has proposed new legislation that would modify the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to limit the circumstances under which a court could issue an injunction or other stop work order on the California High Speed Rail (HSR) project pending the outcome of CEQA litigation.  The proposed legislation aims to protect the HSR … Continue Reading

Court Denies Attorney’s Fees Where Successful Petitioner Does Not Confer a Significant Benefit to Public and Discharges Writ of Mandate After Compliance

In an unpublished opinion, California Oak Foundation v. County of Tehama (2012) 2012 Cal. App. Unpub. Lexis 3970, the California Third District Court of Appeal affirmed a decision denying petitioner’s request for attorney’s fees on the basis that their successful challenge to a golf course community project, which Tehama County approved in 2006, did not … Continue Reading

California’s Highest Court Grants Review of Berkeley Hillside Preservation Decision

On May 23, 2012, the California Supreme Court unanimously agreed to grant review of Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley (2012) 203 Cal.App.4th 656. The issue before the court will be whether the City of Berkeley must prepare an environmental impact report (EIR) before approving the construction of a 10,000-square-foot single-family home. The trial … Continue Reading

Contents of an Administrative Record: Who is in “Control”?

Preparation of the administrative record for CEQA litigation is governed by Public Resources Code section 21167.6, subdivision (e).  In Consolidated Irrigation District v. The Superior Court of Fresno County, (2012) ___ Cal.App.4th_____, the court provided important guidance regarding the proper contents of the record and sets some limitations on an agency’s responsibility to respond to … Continue Reading

Substantial Evidence Test Applies to Subsequent Environmental Review After a Negative Declaration Has Been Adopted for a Project

In Abatti v. Imperial Irrigation District (2012) 2012 Cal.App. LEXIS 496, the court considered whether the substantial evidence, rather than the “fair argument,” test applies to determine whether further environmental review is warranted for a subsequent approval where the agency has initially adopted a negative declaration for the project. In 2006, the irrigation district adopted … Continue Reading

Court Defers to Local Agency Characterization of Lot Line Adjustments as Ministerial Actions Not Subject to CEQA

In Sierra Club v. Napa County Board of Supervisors (2012) 2012 Cal.App. LEXIS 454, the Sierra Club challenged a lot line adjustment ordinance adopted by Napa County, which allowed lot line adjustments under the Subdivision Map Act on parcels that had previously been adjusted, as long as the prior lot line adjustment has been completed … Continue Reading

Tolling Agreements to Extend CEQA’s Statute of Limitations during Settlement Discussions are Valid

In Salmon Protection and Watershed Network v. County of Marin (2102) 2012 Cal.App. LEXIS 458, the court considered whether a public agency and a party disputing the adequacy of an EIR could enter into an agreement to toll the statute of limitations setting the time period for filing a CEQA lawsuit to challenge the EIR. … Continue Reading

Unpublished Decision Upholds State Water Resources Control Board’s Decision to Act as the Lead Agency

In an unpublished decision, Outfitter Properties v. State Water Resources Control Board (2012) 2012 Cal.App.Unpub.LEXIS 1986, the Third Appellate District Court (Court) upheld a trial court’s rejection of petitioner’s consolidated petition for writ of mandate, which sought to put a stop to the “Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project” (Project). Several agencies, including the … Continue Reading

Court Upholds Lower Court Ruling Barring Petitioner from Prevailing on CEQA Merits For Failure to Request a Hearing Within Statutory 90-day Period

In an unpublished decision, North County Watch v. County of San Luis Obispo (2012) 2012 Cal.App. Unpub. LEXIS 2312, the Second Appellate District upheld the trial court’s determination that a petitioner was barred as a matter of law from prevailing on its CEQA challenges because petitioner failed to request a hearing within 90 days of … 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

Thomas Law Group Research Supports Conclusions in San Francisco Chronicle Highlighting the Need for CEQA Reform

On March 6, 2012, the San Francisco Chronicle published an article entitled “Costly, lengthy appeals part of S.F.’s culture.” (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/06/MNB21N1TA9.DTL.)  The article highlights how San Francisco’s environmental appeal process and environmental litigation are often used to stall and kill projects within San Francisco.  The article noted that in 2011, eleven CEQA lawsuits were filed challenging … Continue Reading

Court Awards Agency’s Costs of Preparing Administrative Record Despite Petitioner Electing to Prepare the Record

In an unpublished decision, Landwatch San Luis Obispo v. Cambria Community Serv. Dist., 2d Civil No. B229545 (2012), the Court upheld a trial court’s cost award of $14,615.41 to the Cambria Community Service District for time spent preparing the administrative record.  The District initially sought almost $24,000.  In reaching the amount awarded, the trial court … Continue Reading
LexBlog