A neighborhood association’s challenge to AT&T’s proposal to install 726 metal utility boxes housing telecommunications equipment on San Francisco sidewalks was rejected by the California Court of Appeal. At this time the case is unpublished, and cannot be used as case law precedent. However, the court may decide to publish the opinion in the coming weeks.
Neighborhood groups challenged the fact that the City approved the project without an environmental impact report. Instead, the City determined the project was exempt from environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act “Class 3” exemption. Class 3 exemptions apply to the “construction and location of limited numbers of new, small facilities or structures; and the conversion of existing small structures from one use to another where only minor modifications are made in the exterior of the structure.” The court determined that the utility boxes fell within this exemption, and that neither the unusual circumstances exception nor the cumulative impact exception applied.