United States of America
Citizens for Responsible Equitable Environmental Development (CREED) challenged the City of San Diego's (the "City") certification of an addendum for a residential development project. The addendum relied upon a 1994 final environmental impact report (FEIR) for a mixed-use development precise plan. CREED alleged that the City did not follow the statutory procedure in adopting a WSA required by the Water Code and CEQA, and that new information on drought and the effect of greenhouse gas emissions on climate change required a SEIR. CREED) filed a second amended petition for a writ of mandate and complaint for injunctive and declaratory relief against defendant City of San Diego (the City), claiming that the City failed to provide proper notice of a public hearing at which the City approved two resolutions related to a project for the redevelopment and expansion of the University Town Center, a regional shopping center (the Project). The trial court denied CREED's second amended petition and request for declaratory and injunctive relief in its entirety, and entered a judgment in favor of respondents. On appeal, CREED renews the contentions that it raised in the trial court. The appeal court concluded that the City was not required to provide the forms of notice that must be provided for vacations that are effectuated under the PSHSEVL, because the City properly effectuated the vacations pursuant to the Subdivision Map Act; neither state law nor the Municipal Code requires that the City act pursuant to the PSHSEVL. We further conclude that the City did not violate the Municipal Code in providing notice of the City's proposed amendment of its land use plans. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed. It held that CREED failed to exhaust administrative remedies and that notwithstanding the failure to exhaust remedies the court would have held for the City on the merits. The opinion clarifies the following: A Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) is not required to evaluate drought and climate change impacts where there is no evidence of changed circumstances, new information, or deleterious environmental effects; Where the public water supplier is the lead agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), it is appropriate to incorporate and approve a Water Supply Assessment (WSA) as part of the corresponding CEQA document, rather than in a separate approval: General, unelaborated objections in a last-minute comment letter do not satisfy the exhaustion of administrative remedies doctrine.