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Bowman v. Berkeley, City of

ELR Citation: 34 ELR 20097
Nos. No. A103980, (Cal. App. 1st Ct., 09/20/2004)

A California appellate court upheld a city's decision not to prepare an environmental impact report (EIR) under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for the construction of a senior citizens housing complex. A neighborhood group argued that the project would have a significant adverse aesthetic effect on the environment. But based on the project's environmental context, and the fact that the project has undergone an extensive design review process to mitigate its visual impact, there is no environmentally significant aesthetic effect that requires an EIR. Where scenic views or environmentally sensitive areas are concerned, aesthetic considerations are not discounted as environmental impacts merely because they involve subjective judgments. But the legislature, in enacting CEQA, did not intend to require an EIR where the sole environmental impact is the aesthetic merit of a building in a highly developed area.