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Friends of the Juana Briones House v. City of Palo Alto

ELR Citation: 40 ELR 20027
Nos. No. H033275, (Cal. App. 6th Dist., 10/27/2010)

A California appellate court reversed a lower court decision ordering a city to set aside its approval of a permit to demolish an historic building and to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) before considering reissuance of the permit. CEQA does not apply to the demolition permit at issue in this case because approval of that permit was a ministerial act. Under the plain language of the governing municipal code provision, the city had no authority to impose permit conditions that would render it discretionary. The possibility of a subsequent building permit does not alter this conclusion. Thus, because there are no actionable procedural violations, either of CEQA or of the governing municipal code provision, the petition challenging the city's approval should have been denied.