Third District upholds dismissal of CEQA challenge as untimely

In a decision ordered published on April 2, 2013, the Third District Court of Appeal upheld a dismissal by the Placer County Superior Court of an untimely filed challenge brought by petitioner Alliance for the Protection of the Auburn Community Environment against Placer County’s approval of a 155,000 square-foot commercial project near Auburn. The petitioner filed its CEQA petition three days after the 30-day deadline, due to a claimed miscommunication with an attorney filing service and too-late attempt to file on the last day the petition was due. The real party in interest filed a demurrer challenging the petition as untimely, which the trial court sustained, denying the petitioner’s motion for relief under Code of Civil Procedure section 473, for relief based on attorney “mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect.” The Third District determined that CCP §473 was inapplicable to CEQA’s strict statutes of limitation, finding that Pub. Resources Code § 211167 “makes no provision for extending the limitations period on a showing of good cause.” RMM partners Jim Moose and Chip Wilkins represented Real Party in Interest Bohemia Properties in the litigation. (Alliance for the Protection of the Auburn Community Environment v. County of Placer (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 25.)