Description: Lawsuit challenging environmental review for shoreline residential development.
Citizens’ Committee to Complete the Refuge v. City of Newark
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 12/29/2021 Opinion Download Trial court's denial of writ petition affirmed. California Appellate Court Rejected Arguments for New Consideration of Sea Level Rise in CEQA Review for Housing Development on San Francisco Bay. The California Court of Appeal affirmed a trial court decision finding that the City of Newark did not violate the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) when it approved a housing development of 469 units next to San Francisco Bay in reliance on an environmental impact report (EIR) previously prepared for a specific plan for the area that included up to 1,260 residential units, a golf course, and related facilities. Among the arguments rejected by the appellate court was a contention that new information about the amount and rate of sea level rise since preparation of the EIR should have required consideration of whether the project’s interactions with wetlands would exacerbate the effects of sea level rise. The court found that such dynamics were “not new in relation to this project” and that the new information showing an increased rate of sea level rise “does not make the impacts of thwarted wetland migration substantially more severe in a way that would trigger” requirements for additional review. The court also rejected the argument that the City had improperly deferred consideration of mitigation measures to respond to sea level rise. The court said the CEQA review was not required to discuss effects of sea level rise on the project at all since sea level rise was not an environmental impact caused by the project. The court also concluded that potential responses to sea level rise decades in the future could not be considered part of the current project and therefore did not have to be addressed in the CEQA review.
Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge v. City of Newark
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 12/24/2020 Decision California Court Rejected Claims of Failure to Consider Future Sea Level Rise in Review of Shoreline Residential Project. A California Superior Court rejected a challenge under the California Environmental Quality Act to a residential development planned for the shoreline of San Francisco Bay. The petitioners had asserted that new information about the rate of sea level rise combined with more detailed information about the project’s design showed that impacts would be more severe than was disclosed in an environmental impact report prepared in 2015. The court reportedly ruled that the sea level rise issue was not relevant because potential flooding events would be “issues of impact of the environment on a project and not issues of the project’s impact on the environment.” 12/16/2019 Petition for Writ of Mandate Download Petition for peremptory writ of mandate and complaint for injunctive relief filed. Lawsuit Charged California City with Failure to Adequately Consider Sea Level Rise in Environmental Review for Shoreline Residential Project. Two environmental groups filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court alleging that the City of Newark violated the California Environmental Quality Act when it approved a residential project along the shoreline of San Francisco Bay. The petitioners asserted that new information about the rate of sea level rise combined with more detailed information about the project’s design showed that impacts would be more severe than was disclosed in an environmental impact report prepared in 2015. The petition also claimed that the City did not consider the impact of sea level rise in combination with the project on available habitat for the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse and that the City had improperly deferred mitigation by relying on future adaptive management measures to mitigate impacts from sea level rise.