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Supreme Court grants Horvitz & Levy's petition for review in important CEQA case.

April 18, 2012

The California Supreme Court has granted Horvitz & Levy’s petition for review in City of San Diego v. Board of Trustees of The California State University, a case that raises an important question concerning the extent to which the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires state agencies to fund mitigation of the off-site environmental effects of their projects.

The City of San Diego and other local government entities petitioned to block California State University (CSU)’s plans to expand the San Diego State University campus.  The petitioners challenged CSU’s certification of the final environmental impact report (EIR) for the project. The trial court denied the petitions but the Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division One, reversed in a published opinion, City of San Diego v. Board of Trustees of Cal. State University (2011) 201 Cal.App.4th 1134. 

CSU retained Horvitz & Levy to petition the California Supreme Court for review.  The petition, which the Supreme Court granted on April 12, 2012, presents the following questions: Does a state agency satisfy its obligation under CEQA to mitigate the off-site environmental impacts of a project by requesting funds for such mitigation from the Legislature, consistent with the Supreme Court’s views as stated in City of Marina v. Board of Trustees of California State University (2006) 39 Cal.4th 341, 367? Or, as the Court of Appeal held in rejecting the Supreme Court’s analysis in Marina, must the agency also address in its EIR “[t]he availability of potential sources of funding other than the Legislature” and demonstrate “compelling reasons” showing those sources cannot, as a matter of law, be used to pay for mitigation?

Now that the Supreme Court has granted review, Horvitz & Levy will represent CSU in the briefing on the merits.