Description: Challenge to approval of large shopping center.
California Healthy Communities Network v. City of Porterville
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 09/03/2014 Opinion Download Opinion issued reversing trial court's denial of petition for writ of mandate. The California Court of Appeal reversed a trial court’s decision and held that the City of Porterville’s analysis of the greenhouse gas impacts of a large shopping center had not complied with the California Environmental Quality Act. The environmental impact report (EIR) for the project had concluded that there would not be a significant impact because the project’s greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced at least 29% below business-as-usual emissions, in large part because the shopping center would be developed on an infill site. After receiving comments critical of the basis for this conclusion, the City released—on the day of the project’s approval and without opportunity for public review—a memorandum prepared by its consultants that employed a “new and different” analysis to support the conclusion that greenhouse gas emissions would be insignificant. In an unpublished opinion, the court said that the EIR’s analysis of greenhouse gas emissions misled the public because it “interlaced” its qualitative and quantitative assessments and made the quantitative analysis seem essential when, in fact, the EIR presented “a qualitative analysis decorated with baseless numbers.” The court further held that the City’s memorandum presented on the day of the project’s approval was procedurally improper and could not cure the EIR’s insufficiencies.