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Friends of Lagoon Valley v. Vacaville, City of

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20220
Nos. No. A113236, (Cal. App. 1st Dist., 08/28/2007)

A California appellate court held that a city did not abuse its discretion in approving a residential and business development project. The city's land use plan envisioned business and residential development in the area. An environmental group argued that the project violated the plan because it would result in increased traffic and differences in traffic circulation, reduced size and scale of development for an office business park, and increased residential development. The group also argued that the overall layout of proposed uses is different from what was envisioned in the land use plan. But the plan sets forth guiding policies and implementing policies that allow for flexibility and require interpretation by staff and the city's decisionmakers. Here, the project is compatible with the land use plan. The environmental group's rigid reading of the plan would essentially rule out development in the area—a result that is certainly at odds with the policies expressed in the plan. Nor did the city violate state housing law and corresponding municipal ordinances in awarding the developer a density bonus of 40.5%. The city had discretion to award a density bonus higher than the maximum amount set forth in the applicable statute, the Density Bonus Law.