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AB-3297 California Environmental Quality Act: projects for the development of new housing units: judicial review.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 05/01/2020 09:00 PM
AB3297:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 04, 2020

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 3297


Introduced by Assembly Member Kiley

February 21, 2020


An act to amend Section 21150 of the Public Resources Code, relating to environmental quality. An act to amend Sections 21168.5 and 21177 of, and to add Section 21168.11 to, the Public Resources Code, relating to environmental quality.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 3297, as amended, Kiley. California Environmental Quality Act: local agencies. California Environmental Quality Act: projects for the development of new housing units: judicial review.
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires a lead agency, as defined, to prepare, or cause to be prepared, and certify the completion of an environmental impact report (EIR) on a project that it proposes to carry out or approve that may have a significant effect on the environment or to adopt a negative declaration if it finds that the project will not have that effect. CEQA also requires a lead agency to prepare a mitigated negative declaration for a project that may have a significant effect on the environment if revisions in the project would avoid or mitigate that effect and there is no substantial evidence that the project, as revised, would have a significant effect on the environment.
CEQA establishes procedures and requirements by which an action or proceeding can be brought challenging a public agency’s action on the grounds of noncompliance with CEQA. CEQA limits the judicial inquiry in that action or proceeding to whether there was a prejudicial abuse of discretion. CEQA prohibits an action or proceeding from being brought unless the alleged grounds for noncompliance were presented to the public agency orally or in writing during the public comment period on the project provided pursuant to CEQA or before the close of the public hearing on the project before the issuance of the notice of determination.
This bill would, for an action or proceeding challenging a public agency’s action for a project for the development of new housing units brought pursuant to CEQA, specify that prejudicial abuse of discretion occurred if the court finds that the grounds of noncompliance with CEQA likely affected the decision of the public agency to approve the project and significantly affected the general public’s ability to evaluate the project’s overall impacts, and would prohibit such action or proceeding unless the alleged grounds for noncompliance with CEQA were presented to the public agency by any person during the public comment period provided pursuant to CEQA in connection with the version of the EIR in which the alleged grounds first appeared.
Existing law authorizes an appeal to the court of appeal from a final judgment of a superior court.
This bill would, for an action or proceeding challenging a public agency’s action for a project for the development of new housing units brought pursuant to CEQA, require a party seeking review of a judgment of the superior court to file a petition for a peremptory writ of mandate with the court of appeal within 60 days of the service of the notice of entry of judgment. The bill would require the court of appeal to issue an alternative writ or order to show cause only with respect to a ground for noncompliance with CEQA in which the party seeking review has at least a 50% chance of prevailing.

Existing law, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), requires a lead agency, as defined, to prepare, or cause to be prepared, and certify the completion of an environmental impact report on a project that it proposes to carry out or approve that may have a significant effect on the environment or to adopt a negative declaration if it finds that the project will not have that effect. CEQA also requires a lead agency to prepare a mitigated negative declaration for a project that may have a significant effect on the environment if revisions in the project would avoid or mitigate that effect and there is no substantial evidence that the project, as revised, would have a significant effect on the environment. CEQA requires state agencies, boards, and commissions responsible for allocating state or federal funds on a project-by-project basis to local agencies for any project that may have a significant effect on the environment to obtain from the responsible local governmental agency an environmental impact report, as specified, prior to the allocation of funds, with certain exceptions.

This bill would make nonsubstantive changes to these provisions.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 21168.5 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

21168.5.
 (a) In any action or proceeding, other than an action or proceeding under Section 21168, to attack, review, set aside, void or annul a determination, finding, or decision of a public agency on the grounds of noncompliance with this division, the inquiry shall extend only to whether there was a prejudicial abuse of discretion. Abuse of discretion is established if the public agency has not proceeded in a manner required by law or if the determination or decision is not supported by substantial evidence.
(b) For purposes of subdivision (a), in an action or proceeding challenging a public agency’s action for a project for the development of new housing units, prejudicial abuse of discretion occurred if the court finds that the grounds of noncompliance with this division likely affected the decision of the public agency to approve the project and significantly affected the general public’s ability to evaluate the project’s overall impacts.

SEC. 2.

 Section 21168.11 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

21168.11.
 Notwithstanding Section 904 of the Code of Civil Procedure, a party’s right of review of a judgment of the superior court concerning a determination or decision of a public agency made pursuant to this division for a project for the development of new housing units shall only be pursuant to a petition for a peremptory writ of mandate filed with the court of appeal. The petition for a peremptory writ of mandate shall be filed within 60 days of service of the notice of entry of judgment. The court of appeal shall issue an alternative writ or order to show cause only with respect to a ground for noncompliance with this division in which the party seeking review has at least a 50 percent chance of prevailing.

SEC. 3.

 Section 21177 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

21177.
 (a) An (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), an action or proceeding shall not be brought pursuant to Section 21167 unless the alleged grounds for noncompliance with this division were presented to the public agency orally or in writing by any person during the public comment period provided by this division or before the close of the public hearing on the project before the issuance of the notice of determination.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), an action or proceeding challenging a public agency’s action for a project for the development of new housing units shall not be brought pursuant to Section 21167 unless the alleged grounds for noncompliance with this division were presented to the public agency orally or in writing by any person during the public comment period provided in this division in connection with the version of the environmental impact report in which the alleged grounds first appeared.
(b) A person shall not maintain an action or proceeding unless that person objected to the approval of the project orally or in writing during the public comment period provided by this division or before the close of the public hearing on the project before the filing of notice of determination pursuant to Sections 21108 and 21152.
(c) This section does not preclude any organization formed after the approval of a project from maintaining an action pursuant to Section 21167 if a member of that organization has complied with subdivision (b).
(d) This section does not apply to the Attorney General.
(e) This section does not apply to any alleged grounds for noncompliance with this division for which there was no public hearing or other opportunity for members of the public to raise those objections orally or in writing before the approval of the project, or if the public agency failed to give the notice required by law.

SECTION 1.Section 21150 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:
21150.

State agencies, boards, and commissions, responsible for allocating state or federal funds on a project-by-project basis to local agencies for any project that may have a significant effect on the environment, shall require from the responsible local governmental agency a detailed statement setting forth the matters specified in Section 21100 before the allocation of any funds other than funds solely for projects involving only feasibility or planning studies for possible future actions that the agency, board, or commission has not approved, adopted, or funded.