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In Fudge v. City of Laguna (G055711), published on February 13, 2019, the Fourth District Court of Appeal joined the First and Sixth Districts by reaffirming the need for a litigant to wait for the California Coastal Commission’s (“Commission”) determination on the appeal of a coastal development permit (“CDP”) prior to initiating litigation.

The key takeaway here is that a local agency’s California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) determination in cases where a CDP has been appealed is not final for purposes of adjudication if the Commission has not ruled on the appeal. While the exhaustion of administrative remedies doctrine is well established, this decision is unique in that it applies the doctrine even where a judicial challenge alleges only CEQA violations, providing insight into the relationship between CEQA and the Coastal Act. Moreover, this decision also addresses the extent to which the Commission’s standard of review is de novo.
Continue Reading CDP Applicant May Not Challenge Local Agency’s CEQA Decision on Coastal Development Permit While CDP Appeal to Coastal Commission Is Pending

Voters this week approved Measure JJJ, otherwise known as the Build Better L.A. initiative (the “Initiative”), which establishes new labor and affordable-housing requirements for developers in Los Angeles seeking discretionary approvals for residential projects.  The Initiative was promoted by the L.A. County Federation of Labor, which cited the City’s inability to meet the increasing need for affordable housing as motivation for the Initiative.
Continue Reading Voters Overwhelmingly Approve ‘Build Better LA’ Initiative Resulting in New Affordable Housing and Local Hiring Requirements For Developers

CREED-21 v. City of San Diego (2/18/2015, 4th Civil No. D064186)

The Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld a CEQA exemption related to the City of San Diego’s approval of a project comprising emergency storm drainage repair and site revegetation. The decision addressed various CEQA issues, including the environmental baseline determination, the “common sense” exemption, and the “unusual circumstances” exception.
Continue Reading CEQA “Common Sense” Exemption Upheld; Environmental Baseline for Project Following Improvements Pursuant to an Emergency Exemption Clarified

Saltonstall v. City of Sacramento (2/18/2015, 3d Civil No. C077772). For prior post on a related case, see here.

The Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District of California has ruled in favor of the City of Sacramento with regard to a series of challenges brought under CEQA to certification of an EIR and approval of a project to build a new arena in downtown Sacramento. The project involves a partnership between the City and Sacramento Basketball Holdings LLC to build a downtown arena at which the Sacramento Kings will play. To facilitate the timely opening of a new downtown arena, the Legislature modified several deadlines under CEQA by adding section 21168.6.6 to the Public Resources Code. Section 21168.6.6 also allows the City to exercise limited eminent domain powers to acquire property for the project before its environmental review, but does not substantively alter other CEQA requirements. The court held that the City had not prematurely committed itself to the project; the EIR was not deficient for failing to address the remodel of the existing Sleep Train arena; the traffic analysis was not deficient; the failure to study “crowd safety” did not implicate CEQA; and trial court orders may be reviewed only by writ petition, not direct appeal.
Continue Reading Sacramento Kings Win Again; Second CEQA Challenge Rejected