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Leavitt v. Madera, County of

ELR Citation: 34 ELR 20131
Nos. No. F044068, (Cal. App. 5th Dist., 11/03/2004)

A California appellate court reversed a lower court's dismissal of residents' petition for writ of mandamus challenging a county's approval of a residential development project under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). A "request for a hearing" under CEQA §21167.4 need not include the setting of a hearing date. In addition, the lower court abused its discretion by dismissing the petition because of the residents' noncompliance with §21167.6, which concerns the preparation of the administrative record. Although courts may dismiss a CEQA petition in the appropriate circumstances where the petitioner has elected to prepare an administrative record of proceedings (ROP) but fails to complete the ROP in a timely fashion, dismissal was too severe a sanction under the circumstances of this case.