California Supreme Court Denies Petition for Review of the Fourth District’s Decision in Banning Ranch Conservancy v. City of Newport Beach

On December 12, 2012, the Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld the City of Newport Beach’s EIR for the Sunset Ridge Park Project, rejecting a claim that the city had engaged in impermissible “piece-meal” environmental review of a park project that was proposed next to a mixed-use village.  Banning Ranch Conservancy v. City of Newport Beach (2012) 211 Cal.App.4th 1209.

On March 27, 2013, the Supreme Court of California denied a petition for review.  The Court of Appeal’s decision is now final.  The City may finally begin constructing the 13.7-acre park with active and passive recreational uses that was proposed in 2009.

Appellant Banning Ranch Conservancy, which first filed its petition for writ of mandate in trial court in April of 2010, had alleged that the City violated CEQA by not analyzing all the effects of the neighboring mixed-use Newport Banning Ranch project in the park project’s EIR.  The Court of Appeal disagreed, finding that the Newport Banning Ranch project would not be a “consequence” of the City’s park project even though a park access road would be constructed through the Newport Banning Ranch property.  The court also rejected all of the conservancy’s claims that the EIR had not adequately addressed the park project’s environmental impacts, including cumulative and growth-inducing impacts.  RMM Partner Whitman F. Manley and Senior Counsel Jennifer S. Holman represented the City of Newport Beach in the litigation. [Elizabeth Sarine]