A dispute from the Livermore area suggests that general plan designations and zoning ordinances have not kept pace with renewable energy advances -- leading to interpretation disputes. In Livermore, the courts have sided with public agency interpretations and against environmentalists opposed to a solar project.
In light of a similar ruling by the California Supreme Court in a case from San Diego, the First District Court of Appeal has ordered Cal State East Bay to revisit the question of offsite traffic mitigation in the environmental impact report for its long-range master plan. As the Supreme Court did in San Diego, the court ruled that Cal State cannot simply declare mitigations infeasible unless the state legislature appropriates funds specifically for that purpose. >>read more
In an important victory for local governments, the Third District Court of Appeal has ruled that the state Department of Finance improperly rejected Emeryville's action to re-enter into several redevelopment agreements with its successor agency.
The case is perhaps the first big win in the post-redevelopment era for local governments, which have battled DOF daily since the elimination of redevelopment three years ago. >>read more
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. >>read more
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.
The premise behind the categorical exemptions in the California Environmental Quality Act for infill and single-family projects is that projects in relatively dense, established urban areas are unlikely to create major impacts. According to a recent decision, this premise has its limits.
Nearly two years ago I wrote an article that pondered the effects of legalized marijuana on California's cities. The options, for those cities that didn't forbid cannabis entirely, seemed to range from stoner wastelands to magical communities of mellowness.
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has aside a summary judgment in favor of a city in a dispute over a church's request to relocate and develop an expanded church facility in an industrial park.
The unanimous three-judge appellate panel ruled that District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton's decision in favor of the City of San Leandro was erroneous, and the Ninth Circuit sent the case back to the trial court for further proceedings. The Ninth Circuit did not rule on the merits of the case.
The California Supreme Court will review a case in which Alameda County and a housing developer argue that a California Environmental Quality Act lawsuit filed by project opponents should have been dismissed because the opponents did not raise their objection during the administrative process.