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Mani Bros. Real Estate Group v. Los Angeles, City of

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20203
Nos. No. B194309, (Cal. App. 2d Dist., 08/03/2007)

A California appellate court upheld a city's approval of changes in a plan for a large real estate development project in downtown Los Angeles. Rival developers argued that the modified project is so different as to constitute a new project under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). They also argued that the changes will have new or more severe environmental effects than the originally approved project due to an increase in square footage, building height, and a change in use from office to residential. But the court ruled that the original 1989 environmental impact report for the project, with an updated 2005 addendum, was sufficient. The focus on whether the changes amount to a "new project" is not determinative under CEQA. Even though the overall square footage and floor area are somewhat larger in the modified project, the modified project's substitution of residential use in place of some office, retail, and cultural uses will result in fewer significant impacts compared to the original project.