California Supreme Court Finds Adoption of Airport Land Use Plan That Incorporates Existing General Plan Development Standards Exempt from CEQA Review
A unanimous California Supreme Court held in Muzzy Ranch Co. v. Solano County Airport Land Use Commission, that the Solano County Airport Land Use Commission’s adoption of an airport land use plan was exempt from review under CEQA. The Commission had first determined that the approval of the Travis Air Force Base Land Use Compatibility Plan (“TALUP”) was not a project subject to CEQA, but then, filed a notice of exemption based on the “common sense” exemption to CEQA, which states that the approval had “[n]o possibility of significant effect on the environment.” Muzzy Ranch challenged this decision, alleging that the Commission should have considered the impacts that would result from “displaced housing” caused by the TALUP.
The Court first held that the adoption of an airport land use compatibility plan was analogous to the enactment or amendment of a general plan and, therefore, was a project subject to CEQA. The Court, however, accepted the Commission’s argument that the adoption of the TALUP was exempt under the common sense exemption. The Court ultimately determined that because the TALUP simply incorporated existing general plan and zoning law restrictions on residential housing density, any displacement of housing would have already occurred.ShareThis