Welcome to CEQA Information You Can Use, a quarterly manufacturing of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP’s Natural Resources lawyers. This publication supplies fast, helpful bites of CEQA information, which we hope generally is a useful resource to your real-time enterprise selections. That stated, it isn’t and can’t be construed to be authorized recommendation. Take pleasure in!
Joyful fiftieth birthday to CEQA!
At its delivery on Sept. 17, 1970, Gov. Ronald Regan might hardly have foreseen the revolutionary impact CEQA would have on California land use growth. Starting from the straightforward premise that public companies shouldn’t approve initiatives if there are possible options or mitigation measures that may considerably reduce the venture’s important environmental results, CEQA has expanded to operate because the organizing course of for practically all land use initiatives. All through its teenage years and younger maturity, enterprise leaders and builders started blaming CEQA—rightly or wrongly—for stymying growth, whereas environmentalists and group organizers supported its rebellious efforts to advertise public transparency and knowledgeable decision-making. Though CEQA appears perennially on the precipice of a midlife disaster, main reform efforts proceed to fall by the wayside. As a substitute, CEQA continues to mature via case legislation and the ever-evolving CEQA Pointers. As CEQA proceeds into center age, Brownstein’s Pure Useful resource attorneys want California’s flagship environmental legislation a contented fiftieth birthday.
California Supreme Court docket shuts the door on petition for evaluate of Golden Door determination
On Nov. 10, 2020, the California Supreme Court docket denied requests to evaluate and to depublish the Fourth District Court docket of Appeals’ determination in Golden Door Properties v. Superior Court docket (2020) 53 Cal.App.fifth 733. Accordingly, the Fourth District’s determination described in our last edition of CEQA News stays the legislation.
Court docket guidelines that Friant Ranch venture approvals have to be overturned
For long-time readers of CEQA Information, Friant Ranch may sound familiar. In 2018, the Supreme Court docket (considerably famously in CEQA circles) discovered that the EIR ought to have accomplished an air high quality well being threat evaluation or defined why such an evaluation could be scientifically infeasible. (Sierra Membership v. County of Fresno, 6 Cal.fifth 502.) On remand, the trial court docket ordered the county to vacate the venture approvals (together with a Basic Plan Modification and Particular Plan) and to repair particular sections of the EIR. The developer appealed, looking for a extra restricted order that left “all or most” of the venture approvals intact and certification of these parts of the EIR not overturned by the Supreme Court docket. In Sierra Club v. County of Fresno (2020) ___ Cal.App.5th ___, the Fifth District Court docket of Enchantment discovered that the place an EIR “have to be corrected,” approvals reliant on that CEQA evaluation have to be vacated and the complete EIR must be decertified. (The Fourth and Second Districts have criticized this place.) Noting that the county relied on a press release of overriding issues (which requires balancing of financial, social and different advantages of the venture in opposition to environmental impacts) when approving the venture, the Fifth District concluded that the “balancing was tainted by the unfinished data supplied within the EIR” so the approvals have been additionally tainted.
New California legislation extending land use permits
In a multi-purpose invoice, the California Legislature addressed the state’s housing woes within the context of two different crises which have risen to the fore in 2020: COVID-19 and racial injustice. Sponsored by the California Constructing Trade Affiliation, AB 1561 supplies an computerized 18-month extension for a broad vary of “housing entitlements” that have been issued previous to March 4, 2020, and are set to run out previous to Dec. 31, 2021. These “housing entitlements,” embrace legislative, adjudicative and administrative approvals and permits, in addition to vested rights related to these permits. The automated extension doesn’t apply to growth agreements and sure growth functions. The invoice additionally authorizes, however doesn’t require, California’s Division of Housing and Group Improvement to research constraints on the event of housing for folks belonging to a protected class beneath California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act when evaluating the sufficiency of a normal plan’s housing ingredient. In recognition of the continued COVID-19 disaster, the laws additionally features a 30-day extension to the deadline for a Native American Tribe to request session beneath CEQA for any housing growth venture utility deemed full from March 4, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2021.
From all of us right here at Brownstein, we want you and yours a joyous and protected vacation season!
Many people are grateful to see 2020 come to a detailed (in reality, a few of us have been able to put 2020 within the rearview in August!). This yr introduced a lot disruption to what we used to contemplate regular: gathering with household and associates, assembly within the workplace with colleagues and purchasers and attending to see one another’s faces with no masks. We at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck are grateful for the chance to characterize our purchasers, for invigorating and leading edge work and for the fellowship of purchasers, colleagues, family and friends. We want you and yours a peaceable and wholesome finish to 2020, with hopes for a extra regular yr in 2021.