After receiving three separate petitions for review, including petitions from real parties Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and the City of Sonora, the California Supreme Court voted unanimously on February 13, 2013 to grant review of the Fifth District’s controversial decision in Tuolomne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court (Wal-Mart Stores), Supreme Court Case No. S207173. The League of California Cities had also requested depublication of the Fifth District’s decision while the petitions for review were pending.
The Fifth District’s decision held that CEQA review was required before a City could opt to adopt “as is” local legislation proposed by a qualified citizen-generated initiative petition under the procedures of Elections Code § 9214. This ruling directly conflicted with a 2004 Fourth District precedent. The Supreme Court’s grant of review supersedes and vacates the Fifth District’s opinion, rendering it uncitable as precedent pending the Supreme Court’s decision. For my take on the decision under review, see my November 8, 2012 post, “Impossible and Useless CEQA Review Is Required If City Opts Under Elections Code to Adopt Legislative Project Approvals Proposed By Qualified Citizen Initiative Petition – Fifth District’s Holding in Wal-Mart Rejects Fourth District Precedent and Creates Split in Authority.”
As with a number of CEQA cases under review by the high court this year, this one will be followed with great interest.