Southern California Record

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Los Angeles court affirms lower court decision denying opposition to housing project's environmental impact report

Lawsuits

By John Sammon | Feb 4, 2020

Ami los angeles skyline

LOS ANGELES – The State of California Second Appellate District Division Three Court on January 28 affirmed a judgment issued by the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, deciding against an environmentalist activist group that challenged an environmental impact report for a housing project.

Golden State Environmental Justice Alliance, an advocacy group for protecting the environment, opposed the impact report made for a 34-story residential development to be constructed on Wilshire Boulevard in West Los Angeles.

“Golden State failed to exhaust its administrative remedies because it did not assert in the administrative proceedings the specific claims it now makes on appeal. Accordingly, we are precluded from considering Golden State’s contentions on the merits,” the appeals court brief read.

The developer, Douglas Emmett Management LLC, filed an application in 2015 to build the project on the former site of a supermarket. The City of Los Angeles prepared the environmental impact report for the project, which it certified in January 2017.

Golden State filed a petition for a writ of mandate challenging the city’s certification of the report. The group contended it did not meet requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) because it did not demonstrate compliance with greenhouse emission reduction targets set down for the years 2030 and 2050 in executive orders issued by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gov. Jerry Brown.

When the superior court denied the writ, Golden State appealed.

Attorneys for Golden State alleged the impact report was inadequate or contained erroneous information because it compared the project’s greenhouse gas emissions to the prior supermarket use and failed to adequately explain the basis for its conclusion that the project would result in a 16.5 percent reduction in emissions from mobile sources.

In addition, the allegations contended that planners had double-counted energy savings and concluded the project would have less-than-significant greenhouse gas impacts than were called for.

However, the appeals court determined that Golden State failed to address the project’s compliance with 2030 and 2050 emissions goals early-on in the administrative proceedings.

“The petitioner bears the burden of demonstrating that the issues raised in the judicial proceeding were first raised at the administrative level,” the appeals court opinion read. “We conclude Golden State failed to exhaust its administrative remedies.”

The appeals court affirmed the Superior Court judgment denying Golden State’s writ of mandate opposing the environmental impact report.

       

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California Second District Court of Appeal