By October 21, 2019 letter – a decision on which is due by December 20, 2019 – the California State Association of Counties (“CSAC”) and the League of California Cities (“League”) have requested the California Supreme Court to depublish the Second District’s decision in a CEQA case involving a controversial Hollywood development project. Stopthemillenniumhollywood.com, et al. v. City of Los Angeles, et al. (2019) 39 Cal.App.1. A copy of the CSAC/League letter can be accessed here; I previously blogged on this case here.
The depublication request letter from CSAC and the League asserts that the opinion – which in relevant part addresses (1) the adequacy of detail in an EIR’s project description in terms of siting, size, mass and appearance of buildings, and (2) whether reviewing courts are required to address all CEQA defects alleged by the parties – “should be de-published because (A) it effectively makes modern land use and zoning regulations impermissible, (B) it completely omits discussion of the controlling legal authority on both legal issues, and (C) it is inconsistent with a well-established body of law and artificially distinguishes existing case precedent.”
As readers of my blog post will discern, I fully agree with these criticisms of the opinion, which appears to cast reviewing courts in the role of master land use planners and deprives local agencies of their traditional land use planning and regulatory authority, while also ignoring relevant and controlling legal authorities. CEQA litigation and compliance is complex and difficult enough without having to deal with fundamentally flawed – and flat-out wrong – published decisions like this one, and in my view the Supreme Court should seize the opportunity to maintain uniformity of decisions and grant the de-publication request post-haste.