In a ruling that should send shivers up the spine of any public agency in California needing to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”), the Fourth District Court of Appeal on July 30 held that any email correspondence related to a project and its compliance with CEQA must be retained as part of
San Diegans for Open Government v. City of San Diego – filed Dec. 27, 2018, publication ordered Jan. 15, 2019, Fourth District, Div. One
The Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed a trial court judgment upholding use of the “existing facilities” categorical exemption for a lease for a beachside amusement park, finding no unusual circumstances barring use of the exemption. The Petitioner, San Diegans for Open Government (SDOG), failed to demonstrate any causal connection between the “unusual circumstances” of a local measure limiting development and the alleged significant impacts of traffic and noise, which were also found to be speculative.
On October 24, 2018, the Fourth Appellate District upheld the trial court’s decision in Save Our Heritage Organization v. City of San Diego (D073064), finding that the use of an addendum as outlined in section 15164 of the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) Guideline for approval of project modifications is valid under CEQA and does…
On December 20, 2017, the Fourth District Court of Appeal delivered a solid win for the City of San Diego in a multi-faceted challenge to its approval of a private school pursuant to a Mitigated Negative Declaration (“MND”). In Clews Land and Livestock LLC et al. v. City of San Diego, Petitioners Clews Land and Livestock, et al. (“CLL”) argued that an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was required because of significant impacts in the areas of fire hazards, traffic, noise, recreation, and historic resources, and because the final MND included impacts not disclosed in the draft. CLL further argued that the City’s approval violated the applicable community land use plan and historic resources provisions of the San Diego Municipal Code (SDMC.).
CEQA decisions usually arise in the context of a challenge to a lead agency’s approval of a project and a related CEQA document. However, in a recent decision, Kutzke v. City of San Diego (2017) 11 Cal.App.5th 1034 (certified for publication on May 23, 2017), the Fourth Appellate District resolved a court action arising from a lead agency’s rejection of a project and its MND, and did so in favor of the lead agency.
On May 3–4, 2017, the California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in three cases with significant implications for California land use law. Below we summarize the main issue(s) argued in each matter and possible outcomes. Because many of these cases have been pending for years, the Court that originally voted to grant review has since been dramatically transformed by Governor Brown’s newest appointments, including Justices Cuéllar and Kruger. Consequently, predicting the likely outcome in any of these cases is particularly difficult.
Since the California Supreme Court’s 2016 ruling in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District, California appeals courts have issued a spate of decisions addressing subsequent review under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”), including two in the last two months of 2016. In both cases, the appeals court upheld the agency’s decision not to undertake further environmental review.
The Fourth District Court of Appeal recently issued its opinion in Save Our Heritage Organisation v. City of San Diego (2017) 11 Cal.App.5th 154, the latest round of litigation over the site development plan for a revitalization project in San Diego’s Balboa Park, finding that, under some circumstances, a project proponent may recover attorneys’ fees…
In its February 14 decision (certified for publication on March 15) in Residents Against Specific Plan 380 v. County of Riverside, the Fourth Appellate District upheld the County of Riverside’s (“County’s”) approval of a master-planned community. The opinion provides helpful guidance for lead agencies and applicants in understanding when changes made to a project in direct response to public comments after publication of a Final EIR do not necessitate recirculation. The decision also reaffirms that where defects in a notice are not prejudicial, unwinding of the approval is not required.
The case involves a proposed 200-acre development in the French Valley region of Riverside County, containing a mixture of residential, mixed use, commercial, and open space uses (“Project”). The Project, which was proposed by the Hanna Marital Trust (“Trust”), required approval of a specific plan (known as Specific Plan 380), a general plan amendment, and a zoning change.
In its October 14 decision in Union of Medical Marijuana Patients, Inc. v. City of San Diego, the Fourth Appellate District weighed in for the second time this year on whether a city ordinance regulating medical marijuana dispensaries is subject to CEQA review. As in the first case, which was brought by the same petitioner (Union of Medical Marijuana Patients, Inc. v. City of Upland, decided on March 25), the appeals court held that the ordinance was not a “project” for purposes of CEQA.