2010 Second Quarter CEQA Case Law Update

Author(s): Andrew K. Fogg, Lisa M. Patricio, Andrew B. Sabey

Source: CCN Quarterly CEQA Case Law Update

July 2010

There was substantial CEQA activity in the Courts of Appeal and California Supreme Court during the last three months, with ten new decisions summarized in this Update. Most importantly, in the Stockton Citizens case, the Supreme Court affirmed CEQA’s 30-day statute of limitations, one of the relatively few areas of certainty in CEQA practice. Among the appellate decisions, the first decision evaluating greenhouse gas emissions under CEQA was issued by the First District (CBE v. City of Richmond). In the continuing saga of CEQA Wal-Mart decisions, the court in Melom v. City of Madera held that modifying a project to include a “supercenter” store does not automatically trigger a supplemental EIR. Finally, a significant decision from the Fourth District indicates that the scope of an agency’s CEQA review is limited by the scope of the agency’s discretion (San Diego Navy Broadway Complex v. City of San Diego); on that basis, the court held that a follow-up design review did not trigger a requirement to evaluate climate change impacts.

Also, the California Supreme Court granted review in the case of Save the Plastic Bag v. City of Manhattan Beach, summarized in the last quarterly update. There, the Court of Appeal held that enacting a plastic bag ban required an EIR, due to the potential impacts of mandating paper bags instead of plastic. That is now the one CEQA case pending before the California Supreme Court.

CASES IN THIS ISSUE:

Stockton Citizens for Sensible Planning v. City of Stockton

Melom v. City of Madera

Jones v. Regents of the University of California

Watsonville Pilots Association v. City of Watsonville

San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority v. State
Water Resources Control Board

Communities for a Better Environment v. City of Richmond

Center For Biological Diversity v. County of San Bernardino

Tomlinson v. County of Alameda

San Diego Navy Broadway Complex Coalition v. City of San Diego

City of Santee v. County of San Diego

Download Cox, Castle & Nicholson LLP's 2010 Second Quarter CEQA Case Update Newsletter.