Global Warming and Droughts Not New Information; Project Opponents Must Fairly Present Claims Before Filing CEQA Lawsuit


Citizens for Responsible Equitable Environmental Development v. City of San Diego (May 19, 2011, D057524) __ Cal.App.4th __

On May 19, 2011, the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District upheld an Addendum to an Environmental Impact Report (“EIR Addendum”) over claims that the lead agency failed to follow statutory procedures for adopting a Water Supply Assessment (“WSA”) and that a supplemental EIR (“SEIR”) was required to analyze “new” environmental impacts related to drought and global warming.

Citizens for Responsible Equitable Environmental Development v. City of San Diego involved an Addendum to an EIR initially prepared for a 664-acre master planned community in the City of San Diego in 1994. The EIR Addendum addressed environmental impacts from the last phase of the master planned community -- a 1,500-unit multi-family project (“Project”). WSA Approval Procedure Before the lead agency approved the Project, the City's water department prepared a WSA, which was then approved by the City Council at the Project?s public hearing through a resolution certifying the EIR Addendum. The resolution did not specifically reference the WSA. The Citizens for Responsible Equitable Environmental Development (“CREED”) argued the California Water Code1[1] required the City Council, acting as the water department's legislative body, to approve the WSA in advance at a separate hearing because the Legislature deemed the coordination of water supply planning and land use planning too important to adopt as just an ordinary technical report supporting the EIR Addendum?s water supply analysis.

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