Court Upholds Special CEQA Streamlining Legislation for Oakland A’s Park Project

By Liz Klebaner, Nossaman LLP : jdsupra – excerpt

The enactment of special CEQA streamlining legislation for the Sacramento Kings arena nearly a decade ago created a model for a series of mega-project specific bills, all aimed at reducing the development uncertainty and the delay inherent in CEQA litigation. In a recent decision, the First District Court of Appeal had the occasion to interpret and give effect to such legislation enacted for the Oakland A’s baseball park and mixed-use development project at the Howard Terminal in Oakland.

The Court in Pacific Merchant Shipping Association v. Newsom, First Appellate District (A162001) considered whether Assembly Bill 734 (2017-2018 Reg. Sess.) required the Governor to certify the project’s eligibility for a streamlined process of judicial review by January 1, 2020. Unlike parallel special legislation, AB 734 did not include an express certification deadline. However, the bill appeared to incorporate by reference regulations adopted by the California Natural Resources Agency to implement judicial streamlining on other projects, and those regulations included a January 1, 2020 certification deadline.

Although the Governor did not certify the baseball park and mixed-use development for judicial streamlining until after January 1, 2020, the Court validated the use of the streamlined judicial review process after applying various rules of statutory construction.… (more)

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