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Stockton Citizens for Sensible Planning v. Stockton, City of

ELR Citation: 42 ELR 20235
Nos. C067164, (Cal. Ct. App. 3d Dist., 11/13/2012)

A California appellate court affirmed a lower court decision dismissing a citizen group's lawsuit seeking to vacate a city's approval of a "big box" retail store. The group alleged that the approval violated planning and zoning laws. Their suit, however, is time barred under Cal. Gov. Code §65009(c)(1)(E) because it was not commenced within 90 days after the city approved the project. The group argued that the city's approval of the project, which was in the form of a letter from the director of City’s Community Development Department, did not trigger the 90-day limitations period because §65009(c)(1)(E) is limited to challenges concerning variances and permits issued after a decision by a legislative body. But §65009(c)(1)(E) is not so limited. Moreover, it applies to the city's approval because the director was acting as the city's zoning administrator and was exercising powers granted by local ordinance when he approved the project.