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Vineyard Area Citizens for Responsible Growth v. Rancho Cordova, City of

Citation: 35 ELR 20059
No. No. C044653, (Cal. App. 3d Dist., 03/10/2005)

A California appellate court held that a public interest group's California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), zoning law, and public trust claims against a city for approving a development project in an environmentally sensitive area lacks merit. The environmental review process adequately addressed the project's water impacts on fauna and wetlands. In addition, specific sources of water have been identified and the impacts thereof analyzed. Although they do not yet exist, they are future water supplies, not illusory supplies, which, according to the court, is a critical difference. Further, the record supports the city's conclusion that the proposed alternatives that contemplated on-site wetlands were infeasible. The city, therefore, did not violate CEQA in deciding to dismiss these mitigation measures. The group's public trust claim that the project would dewater a nearby river was also rejected. The group failed to explain why the city's conclusion that the impact would be insignificant was wrong. At most they established a disagreement in policy, not a violation of law. Nor was the city's approval of the project inconsistent with the general land use plan.