Checklist Approval of Design Plan Conforming To Guidelines Established Under Specific Plan Constitutes A Ministerial Act Under CEQA by Katherine E. Allen

The California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District determined that the act of reviewing and approving a design permit application for a warehouse facility by the March Joint Powers Authority (the "Authority") in accordance with the Specific Plan for the March Business Center constituted a ministerial act and thus did not require further environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA"). In reversing the trial court's holding on this issue, the Court of Appeal emphasized the Authority's use of fixed standards and objectives embodied in a checklist for conformance with certain Design Guidelines established under the Specific Plan and the lack of any discretionary or subjective judgment in granting approval. The Court of Appeals also briefly addressed lesser issues relating to the application of certain mitigation measures called for in the Specific Plan to the development of the facility and the standing of the plaintiff in the trial court.

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