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First District Holds Sonoma County Vineyard Development (VESCO) Permit was Ministerial Approval Exempt from CEQA

On April 21, 2017, the First District Court of Appeal filed a 22-page published opinion providing significant guidance and analysis concerning the critical, but sometimes elusive, distinction between “discretionary” project...more

Second District Holds Adverse Judgment in CEQA Action Resulting from Plaintiff Attorney’s Failure to Lodge Administrative Record...

In a published opinion filed April 13, 2017, the Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District, Division 5, held that Code of Civil Procedure (“CCP”) § 473(b)’s provisions allowing mandatory relief upon an attorney’s...more

CARB Violated CEQA and Writ in LCFS Litigation, Holds Fifth District, While Leaving New 2015 Regs in Effect

In a detailed 66-page published opinion filed April 10, 2017, the Fifth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order discharging a writ of mandate that was issued to compel the California Air Resources Board...more

Sixth District Rejects “Piecemealing” and Other CEQA Challenges to Ordinances Enacted Pursuant to Santa Cruz County’s Zoning...

Like the fable of the blind men and the elephant, CEQA’s prohibition on “piecemealing” of environmental review is animated by a basic recognition that the “whole” of an action under review is greater than its individual parts...more

California Supreme Court Holds Banning Ranch EIR Violates CEQA by Failing to Identify and Analyze Coastal Zone Project’s Impacts...

In a unanimous 29-page opinion authored by Associate Justice Carol Corrigan, and filed on March 30, 2017, the California Supreme Court held the City of Newport Beach’s EIR for a large mixed-use development project proposed on...more

Fourth District Affirms Judgment Rejecting Numerous CEQA Challenges to EIR and Approval Process for Large Master-Planned Riverside...

In a 46-page opinion filed February 14 and ordered published on March 15, 2017, the Fourth District Court of Appeal rejected numerous CEQA challenges to Riverside County’s approval of an EIR for Specific Plan 380, a 200-acre...more

Ballot Box Alternatives To CEQA And Land Use Litigation: Recent Developments In The Law Of Initiatives And Referenda

Land use litigators know that CEQA provides a potent weapon to challenge local government decisions affecting land use and development. It is often easy to plead a CEQA claim challenging such decisions, and CEQA will...more

Longtime Supreme Court CEQA Maven, Justice Kathryn Werdegar, Announces Retirement

The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that California Supreme Court Justice Kathryn Werdegar, 81, and currently the Court’s longest-serving member, will retire this summer, on August 31, 2017. Justice Werdegar has served...more

3/10/2017  /  CA Supreme Court , CEQA

Supreme Court Denies Depublication Requests in CEQA Traffic LOS Impact Case

On February 15, 2017, the California Supreme Court denied numerous requests for depublication and declined to review on its own motion the decision in East Sacramento Partnership for a Livable City v. City of Sacramento (3d...more

Another One Bites the Dust: Supreme Court Denies Review and Depublishes Sixth District’s SMARA/CEQA Opinion Upholding Permanente...

On December 14, 2016, the California Supreme Court denied review and ordered depublished the Sixth District Court of Appeal’s opinion in Bay Area Clean Environment, Inc. v. Santa Clara County, which was previously filed on...more

New Water Supply Planning Laws Affecting CEQA Projects Now in Effect

New California legislation affecting the required water supply analyses that must be made for certain projects subject to CEQA (SB 1262) was signed into law by Governor Brown last fall, and is now effective as of January 1,...more

California Supreme Court Denies Review in Expedited CEQA Litigation over Golden State Warriors Arena Project Approval

On January 17, 2017, the California Supreme Court denied the losing appellants’ petition for writ of supersedeas, stay request, and petition for review of the First District Court of Appeal’s decision in Mission Bay Alliance...more

Supreme Court Grants Review in Medical Marijuana Case Presenting CEQA “Project” Definition Issues

On January 11, 2017, the California Supreme Court by unanimous order granted review in yet another CEQA case, Union of Medical Marijuana Patients, Inc. v. City of San Diego (2016) 4 Cal.App.4th 103, Supreme Court Case No....more

Completing the Loop Without Reinventing the Wheel: First District Holds 1998 EIR Adequate Without Further CEQA Review to Analyze...

In an opinion filed November 29, and belatedly ordered published on December 22, 2016, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s denial of a writ petition challenging on CEQA grounds the San Francisco...more

CEQA Does Not Require Local Lead Agency To Provide For Administrative Appeal To Elected Body of Nonelected Body’s Decision That...

In an opinion filed December 7, and later ordered published on December 16, 2016, the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed a judgment denying a writ petition on the “single legal issue” whether plaintiffs were entitled...more

Slam Dunked! First District Rejects All CEQA And Land Use Challenges To Golden State Warriors Event Center Project And EIR In...

In a lengthy published opinion filed November 29, 2016, the First District Court of Appeal rejected all legal challenges to the City of San Francisco’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (FSEIR) and related land...more

Wither Subsequent Review? Supreme Court Again Weighs In On CEQA Subsequent Review Standards Following Negative Declarations –...

On November 22, 2016, the California Supreme Court issued a significant Order granting review in Coastal Hills Rural Preservation v. County of Sonoma (2016) 2 Cal.App.5th 1234, and also transferring the matter back to the...more

Sacramento Residential Infill Project EIR Violated CEQA By Basing Less-Than-Significant Traffic Impact Finding Solely On...

On November 7, 2016, the Third District Court of Appeal filed a published opinion mostly upholding the EIR for a 48.75-acre, 328-unit residential infill project (known as McKinley Village) against various CEQA challenges, and...more

Governor (Still) Not A Public Agency Subject To CEQA, Holds Third District In Indian Gaming Case

The Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (“IGRA”; 25 U.S.C. § 2701 et seq.) allows gaming on Indian lands acquired by the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) in trust for a tribe’s benefit after October 17, 1988, if, among...more

Blowing Smoke About Impacts? Fourth District Rejects Speculative CEQA Challenge to San Diego’s Medical Marijuana Consumer...

In a 29-page published opinion filed October 14, 2016, the Fourth District Court of Appeal dispensed some good news to municipalities desiring to reasonably regulate retail medical marijuana facilities within their...more

Fifth District Denies Rehearing, Corrects Published Opinion And Judgment In Consolidated City of Ceres Appeals To Reflect...

It’s always nice not to lose a hard-won prevailing party cost award due to a court’s imprecise use of party designations – which can get confusing where there are multiple appeals at issue. On October 4, 2016, the Fifth...more

Supreme Court Addresses CEQA Subsequent Review Rules in San Mateo Gardens Case

The California Supreme Court provided needed clarification to some aspects of the operation of CEQA’s “subsequent review” rules (Pub. Resources Code, § 21166; CEQA Guidelines, § 15162) in its highly anticipated opinion, filed...more

Neither CEQA Administrative Record Preparation Statute nor Case Law Precludes Award of Costs to Prevailing Real Party who...

In the published portion of an opinion filed September 12, 2016, the Fifth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order taxing costs in the amount of $44,889.71 which were claimed by prevailing real party in...more

First District Modifies “Reverse CEQA” Case Opinion, Denies BAAQMD’s Petition For Rehearing With No Change In Judgment

On September 9, 2016, the First District Court of Appeal (Division 5) filed an “Order Modifying Opinion and Denying Rehearing [No Change In Judgment]” in California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality...more

Sixth District Rejects SMARA And CEQA Challenges To Permanente Quarry Reclamation Plan Amendment And Related EIR

In a published opinion filed August 31, 2016, the Sixth Appellate District Court of Appeal rejected claims under CEQA and the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (“SMARA”; Pub. Resources Code, §§ 2700, et seq.), and affirmed...more

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