California Environmental Quality Act

News & Analysis as of

California Supreme Court Rejects "New Project" Test In High Profile CEQA Suit

“Enough already!” Reading between the lines, this is what a seemingly exasperated California Supreme Court appears to be saying in its latest California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) decision?Friends of the College of...more

Land Use Matters, Alston & Bird LLP, August 2016

Land Use Matters provides information and insights into legal and regulatory developments, primarily at the Los Angeles City and County levels, affecting land use matters, as well as new CEQA appellate decisions. Please...more

My Project Changed—Is My EIR Still Valid: A New California Supreme Court Case Provides Guidance

Change is inevitable. Many times between project approval and project construction fluctuations in market conditions, financing terms or other factors mandate project changes. Do the changes require a further or modified...more

California Supreme Court Rejects "New Project" Test for Modifications to Previously Approved Projects

On September 19, 2016, the California Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo Community College District (Case No. S214061). The Supreme Court held that...more

“New and Improved” is Not Always a Good Slogan Under CEQA

Marketing departments in major corporations love to describe products as “new and improved” in order to convince you that the product is something you need. In many cases though, you already have the product; the new and...more

CEQA Allows Developers to Recover Administrative Record Costs when Reimbursing Agency

Appellate Victory for Developers and Public Agencies - A developer can recover the cost of preparing a California Environmental Quality Act administrative record, even when the lead agency, not the developer, actually...more

Supreme Court Addresses CEQA Subsequent Review Rules in San Mateo Gardens Case

The California Supreme Court provided needed clarification to some aspects of the operation of CEQA’s “subsequent review” rules (Pub. Resources Code, § 21166; CEQA Guidelines, § 15162) in its highly anticipated opinion, filed...more

Developer Awarded Cost of Preparing Administrative Record in CEQA Lawsuit

Lawsuits under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) typically proceed as petitions for administrative mandamus. This means the petitioner is asking the court to review an agency’s decision and ultimately issue a...more

California Supreme Court Addresses Subsequent Review Under CEQA; Rejects Lishman “New Project” Test

In an opinion by Justice Kruger, the Supreme Court of California unanimously reversed the Court of Appeal in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District, Cal. Supreme Court, Case...more

California Supreme Court Invalidates "New Project" Test - Court Upholds Use of Addendum to Mitigated Negative Declaration Under...

In a major win for agencies and project sponsors, the Supreme Court of California affirmed that addenda can appropriately be used to consider modifications to a previously approved negative declaration or Environmental Impact...more

California Supreme Court Rejects “New Project” Argument

Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District (No. S214061, September 19, 2016) - Why It Matters: As land developers and investors know all too well, so-called...more

Neither CEQA Administrative Record Preparation Statute nor Case Law Precludes Award of Costs to Prevailing Real Party who...

In the published portion of an opinion filed September 12, 2016, the Fifth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order taxing costs in the amount of $44,889.71 which were claimed by prevailing real party in...more

First District Modifies “Reverse CEQA” Case Opinion, Denies BAAQMD’s Petition For Rehearing With No Change In Judgment

On September 9, 2016, the First District Court of Appeal (Division 5) filed an “Order Modifying Opinion and Denying Rehearing [No Change In Judgment]” in California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality...more

Contemplating Cross-Appeals – When “Winners” Need to Appeal

One preservation issue that seems to receive less attention than it should is the potential need for a cross-appeal. An appellee/respondent who is not entirely successful in the trial court may challenge an unfavorable...more

California’s New Climate Change Laws Tighten Limits on GHG, Increase Legislative Oversight of CARB

California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law last week two controversial anti-climate change bills that will tighten greenhouse gas (GHG) limits by 40% and increase legislative supervision of the California Air Resources...more

Impacts of SB 32 on a Pending California Supreme Court Case – Cleveland National Forest Foundation Case

In addition to establishing the greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions reductions goal of 40 percent below 1990 level by 2030, the recent passage of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006: Emissions Limit (“SB 32”) is...more

Sixth District Rejects SMARA And CEQA Challenges To Permanente Quarry Reclamation Plan Amendment And Related EIR

In a published opinion filed August 31, 2016, the Sixth Appellate District Court of Appeal rejected claims under CEQA and the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (“SMARA”; Pub. Resources Code, §§ 2700, et seq.), and affirmed...more

California Governor Extends CEQA Litigation Streamlining Provisions for Large Projects Promoting Job Creation and Innovative...

Law Will Expedite Schedules for Qualified Projects - On Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill extending special California Environmental Quality Act litigation streamlining provisions for large,...more

First District Applies CEQA’s “Subsequent Review” Rules, Substantial Evidence Standard of Review; Upholds Subsequent Mitigated...

The First District Court of Appeal has issued another published decision applying the “substantial evidence” standard of review to a local agency’s decision not to prepare an EIR for approval of revisions to a project for...more

Legislature Passes Pair of Significant New Climate Change Bills

Gov. Brown Expected to Sign Laws that Will Have CEQA Implications - In the final days of its session, the California Legislature passed two climate change bills that expand existing laws aimed at reducing statewide...more

Real Estate and Land Use - August 2016 #3

Supreme Court Clarifies Valuation Rules on Potential for Future Exactions - City of Perris v. Stamper S217738 (Cal. Supreme Court, July 21, 2016) - Why it matters: The California Supreme Court reexamined the rules...more

California Court of Appeal Partially Upholds Air Quality Thresholds of Significance Following State Supreme Court Decision

In a published decision, following the Supreme Court’s decision in California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality Management District (2015) 62 Cal.4th 369, the First District Court of Appeal upheld...more

Supreme Court Depublishes Quirky Fourth District CEQA/General Plan Decision

On August 17, 2016, the California Supreme Court ordered the Fourth District’s opinion in People for Proper Planning v. City of Palm Springs (2016) 247 Cal.App.4th 640 to be depublished, rendering it unciteable and of no...more

Statutory CEQA Reform Proposal (SB 122) Reemerges With Optional Expedited Record Preparation Provisions Unchanged; Fleshes Out OPR...

About one year after being placed in the California Legislature’s “Inactive File,” SB 122 (concerning concurrent preparation of the CEQA administrative record and OPR electronic database) is back “off the shelf.” The bill...more

Sweeping Six-Case Win For Water District Helps Secure Orange County's Water Supply

In early May, the Fourth District Court of Appeal took an important step toward helping to secure Orange County’s water supply. It issued several opinions in response to challenges to a proposed public-private partnership...more

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