A Case Where CEQA Worked


In this case, the Third District Court of Appeal rejected claims raised by Clover Valley Foundation, the Sierra Club and the Town of Loomis that the City abused its discretion in certifying an environmental impact report on a residential project because the EIR failed to adequately analyze the project's impact on cultural, biological and visual resources and failed to adequately consider the project's growth-inducing impacts and water supply. The court also rejected opponents’ claims regarding the project's consistency with the City's General Plan, deciding in favor of the City and its analysis on all counts. The first line of the decision says it all: "This is a case where CEQA worked."

The project, a residential development in an undeveloped area of the City known as Clover Valley, was first proposed in 1991, with the environmental review starting in 1995. An EIR was prepared and certified for the project in 1997. In 2000, after annexing the property into the City, new owners proposed subdividing the property and a second environmental document was prepared starting in 2000. Based on the results of that review, the project changed, shrinking by almost half and increasing the open space by a factor of five. With these changes incorporated and after a detailed and thorough review, in 2007 the City approved the project, which now included only 558 homes instead of the 974 homes originally proposed. After its approval, the petitioners filed suit challenging the City's actions.

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