2010 Fourth Quarter CEQA Case Law Update

Author(s): Andrew K. Fogg

Source: CCN Quarterly CEQA Case Law Update

February 2011

The fourth quarter of 2010 was another relatively busy time for CEQA case law. Most significantly, there were two decisions evaluating the proper baseline conditions for conducting an environmental impact review (Sunnyvale West Neighborhood Association v City of Sunnyvale City Council and Cherry Valley Pass Acres and Neighbors v. City of Beaumont.) It was also the culmination of the busiest year in CEQA jurisprudence ever, with 29 published opinions, including three from the California Supreme Court.

In other significant fourth quarter news, the California Supreme Court has granted review in the case of Tomlinson v. County of Alameda (previously published at 188 Cal.App.4th 1406). As we reported in our Third Quarter Update, in Tomlinson, the Court held that a party challenging the use of a CEQA exemption is not required to exhaust administrative remedies, even when the lead agency holds a hearing at which the CEQA exemption could have been raised. Cox, Castle & Nicholson represented the League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties in urging the court to review this decision, and will be filing an amicus brief for those organizations as well.

In contrast to the hyper-active year in the courts, there was little CEQA legislation in 2010 and virtually none of any significance.

CASES IN THIS ISSUE:

Friends of the Juana Briones House v City of Palo Alto

Sunnyvale West Neighborhood Association v City of Sunnyvale City Council

Nelson v County of Kern

Environmental Protection Information Center v. California Dept. of Forestry and Fire Protection

Cherry Valley Pass Acres and Neighbors v. City of Beaumont

In re Conservatorship of Whitley

Sonoma County Water Coalition v. Sonoma County Water Agency

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

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