How many mitigated negative declarations are required for a lead agency to avoid preparing an EIR? In Sonoma County the answer is five. While the portion of Schenck v. County of Sonoma devoted to the "fair argument" analysis remains unpublished, the court's published ruling that certain procedural errors are not prejudicial is helpful, as well as the appellate court's affirmation that the trial court can fashion a tailored remedy to cure a California Environmental Quality Act error and is not compelled to set aside the approval.
As the state's public disclosure statute, the California Environmental Quality Act directs lead agencies to disclose the likely impacts associated with agency approval of projects. And while legal caution dictates that more disclosure is preferable to less disclosure, lead agencies have to recognize that there are two notable exceptions to this practice: information relating to cultural resources, as outlined in Government Code section 6254, CEQA Guidelines section 15120(d), and trade secrets, per CEQA Guidelines section 15120(d).
Tulare County is a diverse 4,800 square miles, with extensive, mountainous public lands in the east, and some of the country's most fertile farmland in the west. It encompasses the Sequoia Park, parts of the Giant Sequoia National Monument and Sequoia National Forest, and every year hosts the World Ag Expo. How all of these diverse elements fit into a single general plan is the question that has vexed planners and stakeholders alike for the better part of the past decade.
Forget about setbacks, traffic counts, and environmental impact reports. A new nationwide initiative suggests that planners and community development officials should be focusing as much on canvases, scripts, and jam sessions—especially if those planners are in California.