City of Sunnyvale Found GUILTY of Violating CEQA Law Rules Appellate Court


Congratulations and Joyous Holiday Wishes to Plaintiffs Dr. Bill Mathews, Eleanor Hansen, Tammy Salans, Gopal Patangay, as head of the Sunnyvale West Neighborhood Association and Attorney Zan Henson who sued the City of Sunnyvale Council to decertify the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a proposed bridge at the north end of Mary Avenue (at Almanor) called the Mary Avenue Extension Project EIR and WON!
For the ruling, click here.
The City of Sunnyvale Council must set aside its approval of the Mary Avenue Extension Project until a legally adequate EIR has been prepared and considered.
Certified for Publication and filed 12/16/10, the California Court of Appeals rules “The City of Sunnyvale’s use of hypothetical traffic conditions of Year 2020 violates CEQA Law. The failure to comply with the law subverts the purposes of CEQA if it omits material necessary to informed decisionmaking and informed public participation.”   
 
The Appellate Court continues, “We agree with the superior court’s statement that the EIR, by using future traffic conditions as its ‘baseline,’ did not adequately explain to an engaged public how the proposed project was expected to change the present conditions to which they currently lived.”
 
The Supreme Court rejected the City of Sunnyvale’s approach quite clearly writing, “An approach using hypothetical allowable conditions as the baseline results in ‘illusory‘ comparisons that ‘can only mislead the public as to the reality of the impacts and subvert full consideration of the actual environmental impacts’ a result at direct odds with CEQA’s intent.
 
The City of Sunnyvale Transportation and Traffic Manager Jack Witthaus‘s explanation of prescribed procedure described in VTA’s guidelines for preparation of Transportation Impact Analyses was sharply denied by the Appellate Court citing that it violates CEQA law . . . “In the context of review for abuse of discretion, an agency’s ‘use of an erroneous legal standard constitutes a failure to proceed in a manner required by law.
 
Ouch!
 
Justice has been served for the multitude of Sunnyvale citizens who wrote letters and comments, spoke at numerous meetings with the Sunnyvale City Planners, EIR Preparers, Commissioners and Council who have been heard and affirmed by the California Court of Appeals.
Congratulations All!
 
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