Finally, some good news.
Just a few minutes ago, the Court of Appeal released its ruling and written opinion (attached) in favor of the Sierra Club and Golden Door Properties and against the County of San Diego. The opinion was certified for publication, which means that the Court has decided this is of significant precedential value.
The Court of Appeal rejected the County’s attack on Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor’s ruling. The Court found that the County violated the California Environmental Quality Act, (CEQA), the County’s own CEQA Guidelines, and the Supplemental Writ which had previously been issued by the Court.
Here’s a statement on the ruling from Chris Garrett, Latham & Watkins, lead attorney for the Golden Door:
“We were very happy to work with the Sierra Club on this matter. This ruling confirms again that the County simply cannot release regulations throwing open the County to unlimited increases in greenhouse gas emissions from new developments like Newland Sierra. The County simply refuses to comply with the law with respect to greenhouse gas regulations.
This is now the second case where the Court of Appeal has held that the County has failed to follow the law on greenhouse gas issues. The County’s recent approval of the Newland Sierra project relies on the same type of legally defective greenhouse gas regulations that the County adopted to justify unlimited increases in emissions. We look forward to a third Court of Appeal ruling striking down the Newland Sierra approval on that basis.
The County staff knows that their system of greenhouse gas regulation violates the law, but they faced enormous pressure to approve Newland Sierra project anyway That is why the County staff, in a last minute change, took the extraordinary step of recommending that Newland be required to post a $1,250,000 immediate bond. We believe the staff felt this necessary to cover their expected County’s costs for losing another case like this one on greenhouse gas issues. The public needs to step in to stop the County from continuing to make these same mistakes.”
Here’s the language requiring the special bond from Newland in the Board’s agenda—page 4 of the 10 page attached Board agenda.
12. Require the applicant to enter into a standard Defense and Indemnification Agreement with the County of San Diego (County) in accordance with County Code Section 86.201 et seq. and authorize the Director of PDS to execute the Agreement. If litigation is filed challenging the Board’s action on this project, require Newland Sierra, LLC, to provide security in the amount of $1,250,000 in the form of an irrevocable letter of credit or bond, in the form acceptable to County Counsel, within 10 days of litigation being filed (Attachment H).