California Environmental Quality Act

News & Analysis as of

Level of Detail Adequate in High Speed Rail Authority’s Program EIR for Central Valley to Bay Area Rail Corridor

Town of Atherton v. California High-Speed Rail Authority (7/24/14, C070877) - The appellate court upheld the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s Program EIR for the Central Valley to Bay Area portion of the route,...more

Real Estate and Land Use - Sep 2014

Evidence of Economic Infeasibility of CEQA Alternatives Explained (SPRAWLDEF v. San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission) - Why it matters: In upholding the approval of a 260-acre expansion to the...more

Environmental Review Required for Subdivision Map Approvals

On September 9, the Third District Court of Appeal held that tentative subdivision map approvals "always have at least the potential to cause" a direct or indirect physical change in the environment and thus are categorically...more

OPR Speaks to the Impact of Proposed New CEQA Guidelines

As discussed by the California Planning and Development Report, Chris Calfee, counsel at the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research, has indicated that lead agencies will no longer be able to use General Plan congestion...more

Court of Appeal Confirms Subdivision is a CEQA Project

In Rominger v. County of Colusa (2014) (September 9, 2014, C073815) __ Cal.App.4th___, the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court and held that a tentative subdivision map is a project under the California Environmental...more

Tentative Map Approval Is CEQA “Project”, Holds Third District In Published Opinion Also Addressing Prejudicial Error, Agency...

In a lengthy published decision filed September 9, 2014, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed in part and reversed in part the trial court’s judgment denying a writ petition challenging Colusa County’s adoption of a...more

California Reacts to Losing the Tesla Battery Factory Project – Is the Lack of CEQA Reform To Blame?

An editorial published this weekend by the Los Angeles Daily News asks why California lost the Tesla battery factory to Nevada, and concludes that one of the reasons is the California Environmental Quality Act....more

Fifth District Reaffirms Its CEQA Historicity Rules in Citizens for the Restoration of L Street v. City of Fresno

In a published opinion filed August 29, 2014, the Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed a judgment granting a writ of mandate and finding that the City of Fresno erred in approving a mitigated negative declaration (MND) for...more

Is It Historical Under CEQA? Court Confirms Substantial Evidence Remains the Standard

Citizens for the Restoration of L Street v. City of Fresno, et al., No. F066498,(Cal. Ct. App. 5th Dist., August 28, 2014) - In a two-part opinion, the Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment...more

California Urban Housing Market Plagued by Higher Rents, Lower Wages, and CEQA

The economic and social impacts of the California Environmental Quality Act are significant enough that the worldwide publication, The Economist, recently reported that the law’s liberal standing requirements “allow[ing]...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - September 2014

Environmental and Policy Focus: Federal agency to resume leasing for hydraulic fracturing in California: ABC News - Aug 28: The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will resume issuing oil and gas leases next year for...more

Parkmerced Project Upheld Against CEQA and General Plan Inconsistency Challenges In San Francisco Tomorrow v. City and County of...

In a lengthy, mostly-unpublished opinion filed on August 14, 2014, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the superior court’s judgment denying a writ petition challenging the Parkmerced Development Project. San...more

CEQA: Are time extensions for nonconforming uses exempt from review?

Is an extension of time for an existing nonconforming use exempt from CEQA review? A new writ action just filed proposes to resolve that issue....more

Governor’s Passion For Legislative CEQA Reform Has Waned, Contra Costa Times Reports After Mercury News Interview

On August 15, 2014, the Contra Costa Times reported on a wide-ranging interview of California Governor Jerry Brown conducted by the Mercury News opinion and editorial board on that same date. While largely devoted to other...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - August 2014 #5

Environmental and Policy Focus: The California Supreme Court further limits the scope of CEQA review for voter-sponsored initiatives: Allen Matkins - Aug 11: Voter-driven initiatives meeting California Elections Code...more

OPR Proposes to Increase CEQA’s Costs, Complexity, and Litigation Risks with SB 743 Implementation

On August 6, 2014, the Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) issued proposed revisions to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines implementing SB 743 – the Sacramento Kings arena bill – carried...more

Tuolumne Jobs Case

The California Supreme Court has just issued an opinion which may encourage the use of initiatives. At issue in the case was an initiative to adopt a specific plan to streamline approval for construction and operation of a...more

Governor Changes His Mind on CEQA Reform

In published reports, Gov. Jerry Brown discussed that he has had a spiritual conversion, of sorts, on his plans for CEQA reform. He strongly telegraphed that, if he wins a second term, he will not be making a push for CEQA...more

Draft CEQA Guidelines Would Dramatically Alter Analysis of Transportation Impacts Under SB 743

On August 6, 2014, the California Office of Planning and Research issued a new draft guideline that could fundamentally alter the way in which transportation impacts are analyzed for purposes of review under the California...more

Court of Appeal Clarifies Requirements for Public Input on Development Agreements

Due process rights to notice and a public hearing for those who may be affected do not apply to a public agency’s consideration of approval of a development agreement, an appellate court has ruled. In addition, the First...more

California Development: Proposed Amendments to CEQA Guidelines Significantly Change Transportation Analyses

Developers of infill projects could face additional uncertainty and legal vulnerability under new requirements to analyze impacts on transportation. On August 6, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR)...more

CEQA Alert: The End of Level of Service (“LOS”) Analysis? OPR Proposes New Guidelines for Evaluating Transportation Impacts

On August 6, 2014, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) released its preliminary recommendations for changing how transportation impacts are analyzed under CEQA: Updating Transportation Impacts Analysis in the...more

Supreme Court Opens Escape Path From CEQA Via Citizens Initiative – Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court

Why it matters: Project proponents may avoid CEQA altogether by gathering sufficient voter signatures and then having the local City Council approve the proposed project, without submitting the measure to a vote of the...more

California Supreme Court Holds No CEQA Review Required for a Voter Initiative-Sponsored Ordinance

In a relatively short decision, the California Supreme Court held in Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court of Tuolumne County (Tuolumne Jobs) that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) does not...more

Decision: Voter-Sponsored Local Land Use Initiatives Not Subject to Environmental Review

The proposed expansion of a Wal-Mart store into a Wal-Mart Supercenter in the City of Tuolumne, Calif. yielded a California Supreme Court decision that says city councils need not comply with CEQA before adopting a...more

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