FOGG has joined our Neighborhood Coalition Partners and others as a party to a lawsuit that has been filed with the San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday, August 18, 2010.
This legal action filed against the City was precipitated, in our view, by their violation of CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act).
Our attorney Susan Brandt-Hawley’s legal interpretation of the Coalition lawsuit is described in the following paragraphs:
CEQA applies to any discretionary government action that may have a significant environmental impact. It is important that environmental review occur as early as possible in the planning process, so that it is not just a pro forma rubber stamp of a project that is already approved. The California Supreme Court recently ruled that actions short of an official project approval may be illegal if they move project momentum significantly forward. The City of San Francisco has, in my view, violated CEQA in allowing the Planning Commission to adopt a resolution that “recognizes the design principles and recommendations of the Northeast Embarcadero Study for public realm improvements and new development in the area” without first certifying an EIR. The study “aims to … establish guidelines for site design, massing, articulation and quality materials …” Based on the Planning Commission’s “recognition” of the Study, it also “urged” the Port of San Francisco to consider the principles and recommendations in the Study as part of its review of proposals and improvements. After that happened, a revised application for the 8 Washington project incorporated the increased heights recommended by the Study.
The lawsuit requests that the San Francisco Superior Court issue a writ of mandate ordering the Planning Commission to rescind its actions taken relating to the Study and to refrain from further consideration of the Study and its guidelines until an EIR is certified. (more…)