News & Analysis as of

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

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

Real Estate and Land Use - August 2016

Court of Appeal Holds EIR Inadequately Analyzed Energy Impacts - Ukiah Citizens for Safety First v. City of Ukiah et al. (248 Cal.App.4th 256) (partially published) - Why It Matters: The California Court of Appeal...more

Sixth District Holds CEQA’s “Fair Argument” Test Inapplicable To City Of San Jose’s Discretionary Determination That 1922 Wooden...

A project that may cause a substantial adverse change in the significance of a “historical resource” may, for that reason, have a significant effect on the environment for purposes of CEQA. (Pub. Resources Code, § 21084.1.)...more

First District Rejects CEQA Challenge To “Plan Bay Area” Sustainable Communities Strategy EIR As Premised On Fundamental...

In a 58-page published opinion filed June 30, 2016, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the Alameda County Superior Court’s judgment upholding the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s (MTC) and Association of Bay...more

Discovery Rule Does Not Postpone Accrual of CEQA Cause of Action; Events Specified In CEQA Statute of Limitations Provide...

In a short but significant published opinion filed July 19, 2016, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the San Francisco County Superior Court’s judgment of dismissal following the sustaining of demurrers (without...more

Land Use Matters: Alston & Bird LLP, July 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

Court Rejects General Plan Consistency Challenge Regarding City’s Approval of Franchise Retail Store Where Applicable Economic...

Numerous California communities regulate broad economic development objectives through general plan goals and policies intended to encourage and support small businesses or to ensure the compatibility of new commercial...more

Fourth District Holds Non-Expert Opinion Fails To Support “Fair Argument” Under CEQA That Approval of Non-Regional Retail Store In...

In an opinion filed June 15, and ordered partially published on July 13, 2016, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s judgment requiring the County of San Bernardino to prepare an EIR instead of a...more

CEQA Remedies Statute Does Not Authorize Appellate Court To Issue Writ And Supervise Compliance On Direct Appeal, Holds Second...

In the published part of a partially published opinion filed July 11, 2016, the Second Appellate District Court of Appeal held that Public Resources Code § 21168.9 does not authorize an appellate court to issue and supervise...more

Supreme Court CEQA Subsequent Review Case Briefing Completed And Case Submitted (Apparently)

As a brief follow up to my earlier posts of April 26, May 4, and May 12, 2016, it appears that supplemental and amicus briefing has ended and that the matter has now been submitted for decision in the important Supreme Court...more

Lack of Court Direction Requires Developers and Lenders to Estimate Their Own Significance Thresholds for GHG Emissions Past 2020

This June, the California Supreme Court heard the last set of oral arguments before breaking for the summer. Cleveland National Forest Foundation v. San Diego Association of Governments, 231 Cal.App.4th 1056 (2014)...more

Saving Private Partnerships: Court Upholds P3 Project against CEQA Challenge under Save Tara

A 2008 California Supreme Court decision, Save Tara v. City of West Hollywood, cast doubt on local governments’ ability to enter into agreements with private developers prior to completing project review under the California...more

Deficient CEQA Guidelines Appendix F Energy Impacts Analysis Causes First District To Pull The Plug On Ukiah Costco Project EIR

In a partially published opinion filed June 21, 2016, the Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District reversed in part the Mendocino County Superior Court’s judgment denying a writ petition challenging the City of...more

Fourth District Holds Wal-Mart Victorville Project EIR Violates CEQA; Project Approval Findings Violate Map Act; And Project Is...

In a decision filed May 25, and belatedly ordered published June 15, 2016, the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed and reversed in part a judgment of the San Bernardino County Superior Court. It affirmed the judgment to...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - May 2016 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - Proceeds from cap-and-trade auction fall far short of targets - Los Angeles Times - May 25 - The latest auction in California’s cap-and-trade market for greenhouse gases fell...more

Land Use Matters: Alston & Bird LLP, May 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

Home(s) In The “Range”: Fourth District Overturns CEQA Exemption For City of Palm Springs’ General Plan Amendment Removing...

In a brief – and somewhat odd – opinion filed April 22, and belatedly ordered partially published on May 20, 2016, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed a trial court judgment denying a petition for writ of mandate...more

Fourth District Upholds EIR For Cadiz Mojave Desert Groundwater Pumping Project Against Various CEQA Challenges

In the second of two published opinions filed May 10, 2016, the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment upholding the lead agency designation and EIR for a controversial project proposing to pump...more

Sweeping Six-Case Win for Water District

Court Upholds Public-Private Groundwater Conservation and Recovery Project That Will Serve Customers Throughout Southern California - A proposed public-private partnership project to pump fresh groundwater, which would...more

The Plot Thickens: California Supreme Court Vacates Submission Of Just-Argued CEQA Subsequent Review Case, Orders Supplemental...

In orders issued May 11, 2016, one week after the May 4 oral argument and submission of the cause for decision, the California Supreme Court vacated the submission and ordered supplemental briefing in Friends of the Collage...more

Fourth District Rejects CEQA Challenges To Large Mojave Desert Groundwater Pumping Project In Separate Published Opinions

In two opinions filed May 10, 2016 (one partially and the other fully published), the Fourth District Court of Appeal rejected a number of CEQA and other challenges to a project proposing to pump 50,000 acre-feet of...more

California Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County (Case No. S214061)

On May 4, 2016, the California Supreme Court heard oral argument in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District (Case No. S214061), which addresses the standard of review that...more

“Hot Bench” For Advocates In Supreme Court CEQA Subsequent Review Case

The California Supreme Court held a lively oral argument session this morning (May 4, 2016), at 9:00 a.m. in its San Francisco courtroom in the case of Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo Community...more

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