City Approval Of Preliminary Terms for New Football Stadium Was Not A Project Approval And Did Not Violate CEQA
Cedar Fair, L.P. v. City of Santa Clara
In the latest case interpreting Save Tara, the Sixth District Court of Appeal found that the City of Santa Clara did not violate CEQA when it approved preliminary terms for a new football stadium. The City had adopted a 39-page Stadium Term Sheet which detailed proposed construction, financing and other provisions for development of a stadium for the 49ers National Football League team. Despite the detailed description of the proposed stadium project and supportive statements by City officials, the court determined that the term sheet did not commit the City to approve the stadium project and did not rule out consideration of mitigation measures or alternatives in later CEQA reviews.
This case confirms the Save Tara principles that determining whether a development-related agreement constitutes a project approval under CEQA is highly factual. In addition to extensive discussion of Save Tara, the analysis sets forth the relevant facts from the stadium term sheet and "surrounding circumstances" and shows how they balance in favor of the City's action in this instance. The recent Parchester Village Neighborhood Council case cited in the decision also balanced the relevant facts in favor of a city action, finding that approval of a municipal services agreement was not a project approval. By contrast, the Riverwatch case cited in the decision determined that a water district agreement to provide recycled water to a landfill operator was invalid because it committed the agency to action without benefit of CEQA compliance. Through Cedar Fair and other recent cases, the courts are providing useful guidance on how the facts of a particular situation may weigh one way or the other in the Save Tara balance.
Go here for the full analysis of the Cedar Fair case.ShareThis