Sacramento Superior Court Upholds MND and Rejects Challenge to City of Folsom’s Approval of the Lake Natoma Trail Enhancement Project

On April 30, 2014, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael P. Kenny ruled in favor of the City of Folsom and denied a petition for writ of mandate challenging the City’s compliance with CEQA for its approval of a Lake Natoma trail improvement project.

The Lake Natoma Waterfront and Trail Access Enhancement Project would use State Proposition 50 funding to address impacts from the overuse of the recreation area between historic Folsom and the American River by enhancing existing pedestrian pathways to facilitate wheelchair access to the river trail system and mitigate existing erosion problems, creating new scenic rest areas, providing direct landing access for kayaks and small, non-motorized vessels, and removing non-native, invasive vegetation. Petitioner Save the American River Association argued that the project was inconsistent with regional recreation management plans and that the City failed to adequately analyze the aesthetic impacts of installing up to six lighted bollards on the edge of the project site. Judge Kenny rejected these arguments.

The court determined that the project was consistent with both the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area’s General Plan and the American River Parkway Plan with respect to the types and intensity of recreational uses that the project would facilitate. The court also found that there was no substantial evidence supporting a fair argument that the limited number of lighted bollards at the edge of the project near existing development could have a significant adverse effect on the environment. Therefore, the court upheld the City’s adopted mitigated negative declaration and its approval of the project.

RMM attorneys Sabrina Teller and John Wheat represented the City of Folsom in this case.