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City of San Diego v. Board of Trustees of the California State University

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20359
Nos. D057446, (Cal. App. 4th Dist., 12/13/2011)

A California appellate court held that a state agency's certification of an environmental impact report (EIR) and approval of a master plan for the expansion of a state university violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In certifying the EIR and approving the project, the agency determined that there are no feasible mitigation measures to reduce the project's significant off-site traffic impacts to a less than significant level. But the agency failed to substantively investigate and address the project's impacts on the transit system and whether those impacts may be significant under CEQA. Because the agency did not comply with procedures required by law, its decision must be set aside as presumptively prejudicial. In addition, the court reversed a lower court's decision that there was substantial evidence to support the agency's finding that the project will not have a significant effect on the transit system. The agency's finding is based on speculation, unsubstantiated opinion, and narrative or evidence that is clearly inaccurate or erroneous.