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Keeping You Up-to-Date on the California Environmental Quality Act

Oakland Heritage Alliance v. City of Oakland (2011) 195 Cal.App.4th 884


Petitioner challenged the City of Oakland’s (City) EIR for a mixed-use project claiming it failed to provide meaningful analysis of seismic impacts under CEQA. The trial court issued a writ of mandate ordering the City to compose a new EIR. The City submitted a revised EIR which the trial court found adequate, discharging the writ of mandate. Petitioner appealed the trial court’s ruling discharging the writ based on the City’s alleged failure to adequately analyze and mitigate seismic impacts. The Court upheld the lower court’s decision to discharge the writ. First, the Court explained that the City was not required to create its own significance threshold but could as a policy decision use the one provided in Appendix G of the CEQA Guidelines. Second, the Court found that the two mitigation measures adopted in the revised EIR adequately mitigated seismic impacts to a less than significant level. The two measures were that the buildings must comply with all state and local regulations, and that the buildings must comply with final design parameters and recommendations that would be included in geotechnical investigations. Third, the Court ruled that the City did not improperly defer mitigation because substantial evidence in the record demonstrates that compliance with State and local code requirements was feasible and would be effective.

Key Point:

Where substantial evidence in the record supports the ability of proposed mitigation measures to reduce potentially significant impacts to a less than significant level, a court will not substitute its judgment for that of the agency.



dateMay 22nd, 2012byby


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