A state appellate court ruling that the loss of farmland resulting from development of a prison could not be mitigated has been depublished by the sate Supreme Court.
In Friends of the Kangaroo Rat v. Department of Corrections, the Fifth District Court of Appeal rejected prison opponents' contention that the state should have analyzed an agricultural easement on farmland in the vicinity as a means of mitigating the loss of more than 2,000 acres of farmland due to prison construction and other projects.
The court appeared to rule that easements could not be considered mitigation for the loss of agricultural land, leaving local governments with the choice of no project or no mitigation (see CP&DR Legal Digest, January 2004). Many farming and environmental groups asked the Supreme Court to depublish the decision because the use of easements has become a fairly common mitigation measure.
The state high court's decision to depublish the opinion means it cannot be cited as a precedent in other litigation. But the Fifth District's ruling in the case remains in place.
Claims that Sacramento County violated the California Environmental Quality Act while approving a commercial development have been dismissed by the Third District Court of Appeal because the project opponent did not submit a written request for a hearing within 90 days of filing a lawsuit.
The attorney for opponent Forster-Gill, Inc., argued that a telephone call to the court clerk within the 90-day period was adequate, but the appellate court disagreed, ruling that the law "plainly contemplates a written request that can be, and is, filed with the court."
A state appellate court has upheld the California Coastal Commission's denial of a development permit for a small mixed-use project in Morro Bay.
The court rejected developer Dan Reddell's arguments that the commission violated his due process and equal protection rights, and that its decision was a regulatory taking of property. Instead, the Second District Court of Appeal ruled that substantial evidence supported the commission's finding that Reddell's project was inconsistent with Morro Bay's local coastal plan (LCP).
A state appellate court has thrown out an Inyo County general plan amendment that the county argued was nothing more than a clarification of a longstanding policy.
A unanimous three-judge panel of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Two, concluded that the amendment was more than a mere clarification and that the county should have completed an environmental impact report before approving the amendment.
A City of West Hollywood moratorium on new multi-family housing development has been declared invalid by the Second District Court of Appeal. The court ruled that the city had not made required findings for the moratorium.
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has set back a plan to develop the country's largest solid waste landfill near Joshua Tree National Park. The court ruled that the environmental analysis for the project was inadequate and that the Bureau of Land Management undervalued land it would provide to the landfill developer.
A state appellate court has struck down a California Environmental Quality Act exemption for an air district rule permitting new power plants to offset emissions by paving roads. The court found that the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District did not have adequate evidence to support its finding that the rule could not have a negative impact on the environment.
A developer is not entitled to reimbursement or damages from a consultant hired by a local government to complete an environmental impact report, the First District Court of Appeal has ruled. Even when the consultant fails to complete an EIR in a timely manner, the consultant owes no contractual duty to the developer that paid for the consultant, the court concluded.
A city may determine that project alternatives once considered potentially feasible for California Environmental Quality Act analysis are infeasible as actual projects, the Sixth District Court of Appeal has ruled.
The City of Los Angeles had no obligation under the California Environmental Quality Act to complete an environmental impact report for a project that it had rejected, the Second District Court of Appeal has ruled.
The court dismissed all arguments put forward by the developer of the 555-acre Las Lomas project at the junction of Interstate 5 and Highway 14. "[I]f an agency at any time decides not to proceed with a project," the court said, "CEQA is inapplicable from that time forward."
The state Supreme Court will review an appellate court ruling that California's prevailing wage law does not apply to a charter city's public works projects that are funded exclusively with city revenues.