November 2008

California Supreme Court Provides Guidance on Agreements for Development Made Contingent upon Subsequent CEQA Review in Save Tara v. City of West Hollywood

In a decision relevant to redevelopment agencies and other public entities involved in the disposition of land for development, the California Supreme Court held in Save Tara v. City of West Hollywood, that conditional agreements to sell land for private development can, for CEQA purposes, constitute an approval of a project that must be preceded by preparation of an environmental impact report (EIR). The court declined to adopt a bright line test for determining when prior CEQA review is mandated, but instead described a standard for "commitment" and "defined project" that is fact-specific and will have to be applied on a case-by-case basis.