California Environmental Quality Act
In an unpublished opinion, the Sixth District Court of Appeal has unraveled a confusing set of events surrounding the certification of the environmental impact report for San Jose’s new general plan, concluding that an environmental group exhausted all administrative remedies and can sue over the EIR.
The California Clean Energy Committee sued over the certification of the EIR, saying that it should not be penalized because of the confusing way San Jose certified the EIR. The Sixth District agreed.
The First District Court of Appeal has upheld the City of Napa’s decision to rely on its 1998 general plan environmental impact report in adopting its 2009 housing element.
Latinos Unidos De Napa sued the city, claiming a new environmental impact report should have been prepared for the housing element. But the First District disagreed, essentially concluding that the land use changes contained in the housing element were so minor that they did not trigger the need for a new EIR.
In the pantheon of developer complaints about the California Environmental Quality Act, perhaps the most common one is that it’s too easy to use it to file crazy lawsuits purely for the purposes of gumming up the works.
Which is maybe why the building industry and property rights advocates have spent so much time lately filing CEQA lawsuits apparently designed to gum up the works.
The Court of Appeal has upheld an environmental impact report dealing with mining in a dry riverbed in Santa Barbara County.
Troesh Materials, Inc. submitted an application to the County of Santa Barbara (“County”) to operate a new mine within the dry bed of the Cayuma River. The mine would be positioned away from the active streambed and roughly 1,500 feet upstream from an existing, active mine. Potential excavation could proceed to a maximum depth of 90 feet, with an average production of 500,000 cubic yards per year.
Love’ em or hate ‘em, those litigators at the Center for Biological Diversity are the best in the business. Seems like they always find a way to win.
When deciding whether to award a public litigant its attorneys’ fees against another public entity under Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5, the trial court may only consider the public litigant’s “pecuniary interests and the pecuniary interests of its constituents” in determining the third requirement of that statute. The court may not consider the nonpecuniary motives of the public litigant in bringing the lawsuit.
California State University East Bay undertook a dual-purpose environmental impact report for its campus master plan and two construction projects, meant to enable the campus to grow from roughly 12,000 to 18,000 students in the next 30 years. The construction projects consisted of a housing complex and a parking structure. The EIR included alternatives at both the master plan and construction project level.
At times, city officials in California couldn’t be blamed for wanting to revert to bygone times, such as, perhaps, 14th century Italy. City-states would be one solution to what seems to be persistent rancor between Sacramento and cities. At the heart of that fray lies the League of California Cities, whose mission is to lobby for the diverse interest of the state’s 600-plus cities.
In 2006, a developers Y.T. Wong and SMI Construction, Inc. proposed to divide two existing ‘R-1’ zoned parcels totaling 1.89 acres into 11 lots to allow for the development of single-family homes in the community of Fairview in unincorporated Alameda County, bordering the City of Hayward. The county sent out written notices to a number of agencies, neighbors, and other interested parties, including the group that would become the appellants, indicating the county’s intent to utilize the section 15332 (Infill Development) CEQA exemption.
Citizens for Open Government v. City of Lodi involves the consolidation of three separate actions revolving around the City of Lodi’s approval of a conditional use permit (CUP) for a shopping center to be anchored by a Wal-Mart Supercenter.