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Del Cerro Mobile Estates v. City of Placentia

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20229
Nos. G043709, (Cal. App. 4th Dist., 06/07/2011)

A California appellate court dismissed a mobile home park owner's complaint challenging a city's environmental impact report (EIR) for a planned railroad grade separation project under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Below, the county transportation authority intervened in the lawsuit to point out that grade separation projects that eliminate railway crossings, as the one at issue here, are expressly exempt from CEQA. The lower court agreed, and the owner's CEQA-based challenge therefore failed. On appeal, the owner asserts that by preparing and certifying the EIR as if CEQA applied, the city waived any right to later invoke a potential CEQA exemption. But this challenge has no merit, as a statutory exemption applies as a matter of law. In addition, the owner's claim that the city will depart from environmental mitigation measures it adopted in resolutions concerning the project is not ripe. Merely contemplating action and marshalling legal arguments to support potential action does not constitute an actual controversy.