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Schenck v. County of Sonoma

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20274
Nos. No. A129646, (Cal. App. 1st Dist., 08/26/2011)

A California appellate court held that a county complied with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) prior to approving the development of a large beverage distribution facility project. The plaintiff argued that the county failed to give the regional air quality district proper notice of a hearing and its intent to adopt a mitigated negative declaration for the project. But this single error in the notice procedure was not prejudicial. Even without notice to the district, the information gathering and presentation mechanisms of CEQA were not subverted or even compromised. Moreover, the district later confirmed that the project's estimated operational criteria emissions were below the district's existing thresholds of significance. The court also rejected the plaintiff's claim that the county should have prepared an environmental impact report rather than a negative declaration. The administrative record does not contain substantial evidence that the project, with mitigation measures, may have a significant effect on the environment.