California Environmental Quality Act

News & Analysis as of

Ruling Complicated Use of CEQA's Categorical Exemptions

Categorical exemptions from environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, do not apply to projects involving a reasonable possibility of a significant effect on the environment due to unusual...more

Real Estate and Land Use - March 2015

Be Careful What You Agree To (City of San Marcos v. Loma San Marcos, LLC) - Why It matters: The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court decision upholding an agreement between the City of San Marcos and a property owner...more

Is California Really Going to Mandate an 80% Reduction in Greenhouse Gases Below 1990 Levels by 2050?

The California Supreme Court has elevated the stakes even further on what has already developed into a critically important question for the future of greenhouse gas (GHG) regulation in the state. On March 11, 2015, the...more

CEQA Alert UPDATE: Petitions for Review Filed in Greenhouse Gas and ICCTA Preemption Cases

As previously reported, two decisions by California’s Fourth Appellate District in late 2014 highlighted CEQA compliance challenges facing local governments charged with implementing state and local greenhouse gas emissions...more

CEQA Review of Sacramento Kings Downtown Arena Project Held Legally Adequate In Published Third District Opinion

In a published opinion filed February 18, 2015, the Third District Court of Appeal rejected all legal challenges to the City of Sacramento’s EIR and CEQA compliance for approval of its new downtown entertainment and sports...more

Supreme Court Will Review CEQA Decision Invalidating SANDAG’s 2050 RTP

On March 11, 2015, the California Supreme Court granted the San Diego Association of Governments’ (SANDAG) petition for review of the Fourth District Court of Appeal’s decision in Cleveland National Forest Foundation v. San...more

Work Done Under Unchallenged CEQA Emergency Exemption Held Part Of Existing Environment Baseline In Subsequent CEQA Challenge To...

In a decision filed January 29, and belatedly ordered published on February 18, 2015, the Fourth District Court of Appeal rejected numerous CEQA (and other) challenges to the City of San Diego’s regular, after-the-fact...more

California Supreme Court Issues CEQA Ruling Regarding Categorical Exemptions - The Practical Result of the Court's Decision Is...

The California Supreme Court issued its opinion in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley (Case No. S201116), overturning the Court of Appeal and charting a course for the future application of categorical...more

CEQA “Common Sense” Exemption Upheld; Environmental Baseline for Project Following Improvements Pursuant to an Emergency Exemption...

CREED-21 v. City of San Diego (2/18/2015, 4th Civil No. D064186) - The Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld a CEQA exemption related to the City of San Diego’s approval of a project comprising emergency storm drainage...more

California Supreme Court Construes CEQA’s “Unusual Circumstances” Exception to Categorical Exemptions in Berkeley Hillside...

In a 46-page majority opinion written by Justice Chin and joined by four other justices, punctuated by an 18-page concurring opinion (by Justice Liu, joined by Justice Werdegar) which reads like a dissent, the California...more

Big House CEQA Exemption on Firm Foundation

The Berkeley Hillside Preservation association wasn’t thrilled with a new neighbor’s plans to demolish an existing house and build a 6,478-square-foot house with an attached 3,394-square-foot 10-car garage on a slope in the...more

Sacramento Kings Win Again; Second CEQA Challenge Rejected

Saltonstall v. City of Sacramento (2/18/2015, 3d Civil No. C077772). The Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District of California has ruled in favor of the City of Sacramento with regard to a series of challenges...more

California Supreme Court Announces New Test for CEQA “Unusual Circumstances” Exception

Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley (2015) ___ Cal.4th ___, Case No. S201116 - This week the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in the Berkeley Hillside case, which considered...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - March 2015

Environmental and Policy Focus: Berkeley Hillside: New Supreme Court decision defines limits of CEQA exemption challenges to development: Allen Matkins - Mar 2: On March 2, the California Supreme Court issued the...more

It’s Not Unusual: California Supreme Court Declines to Expand “Unusual Circumstances” Exception to CEQA Categorical Exemptions

In an important and highly anticipated decision under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the California Supreme Court overturned a Court of Appeal’s decision that would have severely limited public agencies’...more

California Supreme Court Establishes the Standard of Review for the Unusual Circumstances Exception to CEQA Categorical Exemptions...

Breathing life into the use of CEQA categorical exemptions, on March 2, 2015, the California Supreme Court held that a reasonable possibility that a project may result in significant effects on the environment alone is not...more

Government & Regulatory Law Update March 2015: California Supreme Court Issues Decision in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City...

On March 2, 2015, the California Supreme Court issued its long awaited opinion in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley (“Berkeley”). The opinion clarifies two important issues relating to the California...more

Developer Catches a Break in California Supreme Court CEQA Ruling

In Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley, No. S201116 (Cal. Mar. 2, 2015) (slip op), the California Supreme Court overturned an appeals court ruling that banned developers from using an exemption under the...more

California Supreme Court Clarifies Application Of The “Unusual Circumstances” Exception To Categorical Exemptions Under CEQA

On March 2, 2015, the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley, which establishes a two-part test for application of the California Environmental Quality...more

California Supreme Court’s CEQA Ruling Reaches Beyond Residential Development

On Monday March 2, the California Supreme Court handed down a decision allowing a Berkeley home builder to use an exemption from detailed environmental assessment under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) in its...more

CA Supreme Court Provides Key CEQA Guidance Regarding Categorical Exemptions

The California Supreme Court issued a long-awaited ruling regarding categorical exemptions under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reversing a court of appeal decision that would have sharply curtailed the use...more

CEQA Alert: California Supreme Court Issues Long-Awaited Guidance on the “Unusual Circumstances” Exception to CEQA’s Categorical...

In its March 2 decision in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley (SC Case No. S201116), the California Supreme Court provides critical guidance to CEQA lead agencies and practitioners regarding the proper...more

Development Trend to Circumvent CEQA Through Ballot Initiative Emphasizes Need for Reform

The Los Angeles Times recently reported that proposed football stadium developers have chosen to incur the cost of collecting signatures to qualify an initiative for the ballot to obtain land use approvals rather than face...more

California Supreme Court Upholds Most Commonly Used CEQA Categorical Exemptions

The California Supreme Court has issued its long-awaited decision in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley, No. S201116 (March 2, 2015). The Court’s decision clears up some of the ambiguity that surrounded the...more

Berkeley Hillside: New Supreme Court decision defines limits of CEQA exemption challenges to development

Today, the California Supreme Court issued the highly anticipated CEQA decision: Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley. The case addresses whether the "unusual circumstances" exception to CEQA's categorical...more

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