Superior Court Finds City's EIR for Downtown Precise Plan Improperly Mitigated Impacts to Historical Resources and Excluded Required Shadow Analysis
The San Mateo County Superior court granted a petition for writ of mandate, setting aside Redwood City’s certification of a final environmental impact report for its Downtown Precise Plan on the grounds that the EIR inadequately described and mitigated impacts to historical resources, and incorrectly determined that CEQA does not require analysis of shadow impacts. The court rejected mitigation of historical resources that would have allowed the City to document or install a plaque prior to demolition of an historical resource. The court also concluded that the City had improperly omitted analysis of shadow impacts of the project, which proposed construction of substantially taller buildings than currently exist in the downtown area. While Redwood City had determined that CEQA did not require analysis of such impacts, the court found that an EIR must consider shadow impacts “if a project will substantially degrade the existing visual character or quality of the site and its surroundings, and the lead agency has exercised its discretion to determine to classify the impact as significant.”
While the decision is not yet final, and lacks the precedential value of an appellate opinion, its treatment of shadow impacts in particular, addresses an unsettled area of CEQA law.
For more information on the unpublished decision, see this recent article in the Redwood City Daily News.ShareThis