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City of San Diego et al v. Board of Trustees of the California State University

December 13, 2011

CITY OF SAN DIEGO ET AL., PLAINTIFFS AND APPELLANTS,
v.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, DEFENDANT AND RESPONDENT.



(Super. Ct. Nos. GIC855643, GIC855701, 37-2007-00083692-CU-WM-CTL, 37-2007-00083773-CU-MC-CTL, 37-2007-00083768-CU-TT-CTL) APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of San Diego County, Thomas P. Nugent, Judge. Affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded with directions.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: McDONALD, J.

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

In 2005, the Board of Trustees of the California State University (CSU) certified an environmental impact report (EIR) and approved a project for the expansion of San Diego State University (SDSU). The project included the construction of new buildings and an increase in SDSU's student enrollment from 25,000 full-time equivalent students (FTES) to 35,000 FTES by the 2024/2025 academic year. During the pendency of litigation challenging the 2005 EIR certification and project approval, the California Supreme Court issued its opinion in City of Marina v. Board of Trustees of California State University (2006) 39 Cal.4th 341 (Marina), which addressed certain issues involved in the 2005 SDSU EIR litigation. In response to Marina, the trial court in 2006 entered judgment against CSU and issued a writ of mandate directing it to set aside its certification of the 2005 EIR and approval of the SDSU expansion project. The court retained jurisdiction of the matter until it determined CSU had complied with the California Environmental Quality Act (Pub. Resources Code, § 21000 et seq.)*fn1 (CEQA) and the views expressed in Marina.

In 2007, CSU revised its master plan for expansion of SDSU (the Project) and released a draft EIR (DEIR) for the Project. After receiving comments from the general public and governmental agencies, CSU prepared a final EIR (FEIR), responding to those comments and revising the DEIR. In November 2007, CSU certified the FEIR and approved the Project, finding that because it might not obtain "fair-share" off-site mitigation funding from the Legislature and Governor, there are no feasible mitigation measures to reduce the Project's significant off-site traffic impacts to a less than significant level. Based in part on its finding that those significant off-site traffic impacts were unavoidable, CSU adopted a statement of overriding considerations, concluding the Project's benefits outweighed its unavoidable significant environmental effects, and then approved the Project.

The City of San Diego and the Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Diego (together City), San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), and San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) filed petitions for writs of mandate challenging CSU's certification of the FEIR and approval of the Project. After consolidating the cases and hearing arguments of counsel, the trial court denied the petitions and discharged the 2006 writ, finding CSU had complied with Marina. It then entered judgment for CSU.

On appeal, City, SANDAG, and MTS contend the trial court erred by: (1) concluding CSU complied with CEQA and Marina by finding "fair-share" payments for mitigation of significant off-site environmental impacts were infeasible because it could not guarantee the Legislature and Governor would approve the funding, and that the FEIR was not required to address potential alternative means of paying CSU's "fair-share" of those off-site mitigation costs; (2) concluding they could not raise those issues in the trial court because they did not raise them during the administrative proceedings (i.e., they failed to exhaust their administrative remedies); (3) denying their request for judicial notice of certain documents pertaining to the issue of whether CSU complied with CEQA and Marina; (4) concluding the FEIR did not err in calculating the increased vehicle traffic caused by the Project's increased student enrollment; (5) concluding CSU did not improperly defer adoption of mitigation measures to reduce vehicle traffic; and (6) concluding the FEIR adequately addressed the Project's potential impacts on transit and that there is substantial evidence to support CSU's finding the Project will not cause any significant effect on public transit (e.g., trolley and bus facilities and service). For the reasons discussed below, we conclude the trial court erred in denying the petitions and the request for judicial notice and in discharging the 2006 writ.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The SDSU campus is located in The City of San Diego along the southern rim of Mission Valley. The campus consists of about 280 acres with the following general boundaries: Montezuma Road on the south, East Campus Drive on the east, 55th Street and Remington Road on the west, and Adobe Falls Road (north of Interstate 8) on the north. In 2005, CSU certified an EIR and approved a project for the expansion of SDSU. During the pendency of litigation challenging that 2005 EIR certification and project approval, the California Supreme Court issued its opinion in Marina. In response to Marina, in 2006 the trial court entered judgment against CSU, issued a writ of mandate directing it to set aside its certification of the 2005 EIR and approval of the project, and retained jurisdiction of the matter until it determined CSU had complied with CEQA and Marina.

In February 2007, toward its continuing goal of expanding SDSU's enrollment, CSU prepared a new notice of preparation and initial study (NOP) and circulated it for public comment. In June, after receiving public comments on the NOP, CSU prepared the DEIR. As described in the DEIR, the Project is CSU's master plan for expansion of SDSU through the 2024/2025 academic year by increasing student enrollment from 25,000 FTES to 35,000 FTES (equal to an actual increase of 11,385 students) and developing six components: (1) additional on-campus student housing (i.e., an additional 2,976 beds); (2) between 172 and 348 condominium and/or townhouse units on the 33-acre Adobe Falls site for SDSU faculty and staff housing; (3) a 120-room hotel on its Alvarado Road site; (4) 612,000 square feet of new building space on its Alvarado Road site for academic, research, and/or medical use and a 552,000 square foot parking structure; (5) renovation and expansion of the student union building; and (6) a 70,000 square foot campus conference center for meetings, conferences, office space, and food and retail services. The DEIR states the proposed increase in student enrollment will require the hiring of 691 additional faculty members and 591 additional staff members. The Project will result in a total of 12,667 additional students, faculty, and staff on the SDSU campus by the 2024/2025 academic year.*fn2 The DEIR discussed the Project's potential significant environmental impacts and mitigation measures and alternatives that would reduce or avoid those impacts.

CSU circulated the DEIR for public comment from June 12, 2007, through July 27, 2007. CSU held multiple community meetings to present the DEIR and the Project, and receive comments. CSU received about 87 comment letters on the DEIR from residents who live in neighborhoods that would be affected by the Project; other members of the public; and federal, state, and local governmental agencies, including City and SANDAG. CSU then prepared the FEIR, which attached the comment letters, responded to them, and revised the DEIR.

On November 13 and 14, 2007, CSU held a public meeting on the FEIR. Representatives of City, SANDAG, MTS, and the State of California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and members of the public expressed concerns regarding the FEIR and the Project. CSU then adopted findings of fact (Findings) and the mitigation measures set forth in the mitigation monitoring and reporting program (MMRP). In the Findings, CSU found the FEIR identified potentially significant effects that could result from implementation of the Project, and inclusion of mitigation measures as part of approval of the Project would reduce most, but not all, of those effects to less than significant levels. However, as to those significant impacts that are unavoidable even after incorporating all feasible mitigation measures, CSU found the benefits of the Project outweighed those unavoidable significant impacts. CSU expressly found the Project would have "[n]o significant impacts on transit systems." CSU approved resolutions stating:

"7. A portion of the mitigation measures necessary to reduce traffic impacts to less than significant are the responsibility of and under the authority of the City . . . . The City and [CSU] have not come to agreement. [CSU] therefore cannot guarantee that certain mitigation measures that are the sole responsibility of the City will be timely implemented. [CSU] therefore finds that certain impacts upon traffic may remain significant and unavoidable if mitigation measures are not implemented, and adopts Findings of Fact that include specific Overriding Considerations that outweigh the remaining potential unavoidable significant impacts with respect to traffic and transit that are not under the authority and responsibility of [CSU].

"8. . . . [CSU] hereby certifies the FEIR for the [Project] as complete and adequate in that the FEIR addresses all significant environmental impacts of the [Project] and fully complies with the requirements of CEQA and the CEQA Guidelines. . .

"9. It is necessary, consistent with [Marina], for CSU to pursue mitigation funding from the [L]egislature to meet its CEQA fair-share mitigation obligations. The chancellor is therefore directed to request from the [G]governor and the [L]egislature, through the annual state budget process, the future funds ($6,484,000) necessary to support costs as determined by [CSU] necessary to fulfill the mitigation requirements of CEQA.

"10. In the event the request for mitigation funds is approved in full, the chancellor is directed to proceed with implementation of the [master plan for the Project]. Should the request for funds only be partially approved, the chancellor is directed to proceed with implementation of the [P]roject, funding identified mitigation measures to the extent of the available funds. In the event the request for funds is not approved, the chancellor is directed to proceed with implementation of the [P]roject consistent with resolution number 11 below.

"11. Because [CSU] cannot guarantee that the request to the [L]egislature for the necessary mitigation funding will be approved, or that the local agencies will fund the measures that are their responsibility, [CSU] finds that the impacts whose [sic] funding is uncertain remain significant and unavoidable, and that they are necessarily outweighed by the Statement of Overriding Considerations adopted by [CSU]."

CSU certified the FEIR and approved the Project. It then issued a notice of determination regarding its findings and actions.

In December 2007, City, SANDAG and MTS filed separate petitions for writs of mandate challenging CSU's certification of the FEIR and approval of the Project. The trial court subsequently consolidated the cases. CSU filed a motion to discharge the 2006 writ. In February 2010, the trial court issued a statement of decision rejecting all of the claims asserted by City, SANDAG and MTS. In March 2010, the court entered judgment for CSU, denying the petitions for writs of mandate filed against it and discharging the 2006 writ. The court found CSU had met the requirements of CEQA and Marina. City, SANDAG and MTS timely filed notices of appeal challenging the judgment.*fn3

DISCUSSION

I

Standard of Review

The abuse of discretion standard of review applies to our review of CSU's compliance with CEQA in the circumstances of this case. Section 21168.5 provides:

"In any action or proceeding, other than an action or proceeding under Section 21168, to attack, review, set aside, void or annul a determination, finding, or decision of a public agency on the grounds of noncompliance with this division, the inquiry shall extend only to whether there was a prejudicial abuse of discretion. Abuse of discretion is established if the agency has not proceeded in a manner required by law or if the determination or decision is not supported by substantial evidence."

"An appellate court's review of the administrative record for legal error and substantial evidence in a CEQA case, as in other mandamus cases, is the same as the trial court's: The appellate court reviews the agency's action, not the trial court's decision; in that sense appellate judicial review under CEQA is de novo. [Citations.] We therefore resolve the substantive CEQA issues on which we granted review by independently determining whether the administrative record demonstrates any legal error by the [public agency] and whether it contains substantial evidence to support the [public agency's] factual determinations." (Vineyard Area Citizens for Responsible Growth, Inc. v. City of Rancho Cordova (2007) 40 Cal.4th 412, 427 (Vineyard).) We review de novo, or independently, the question whether CSU committed any legal error under CEQA (i.e., did not "proceed[] in a manner required by law") in preparing and certifying the FEIR and approving the Project. (§ 21168.5.) When a public agency does not comply with procedures required by law, its decision must be set aside as presumptively prejudicial. (Sierra Club v. State Bd. of Forestry (1994) 7 Cal.4th 1215, 1236 (Sierra Club).) Noncompliance by a public agency with CEQA's substantive requirements or noncompliance with its information disclosure provisions that preclude relevant information from being presented to the public agency "constitute[s] a prejudicial abuse of discretion within the meaning of Sections 21168 and 21168.5, regardless of whether a different outcome would have resulted if the public agency had complied with those provisions." (§ 21005, subd. (a); County of Amador v. El Dorado County Water Agency (1999) 76 Cal.App.4th 931, 946.) "In other words, when an agency fails to proceed as required by CEQA, harmless error analysis is inapplicable. The failure to comply with the law subverts the purposes of CEQA if it omits material necessary to informed decisionmaking and informed public participation." (County of Amador, at p. 946.)

We apply the substantial evidence standard of review to a public agency's "conclusions, findings, and determinations, and to challenges to the scope of an EIR's analysis of a topic, the methodology used for studying an impact, and the reliability or accuracy of the data upon which the EIR relied because these types of challenges involve factual questions." (City of Long Beach v. Los Angeles Unified School Dist. (2009) 176 Cal.App.4th 889, 898.) "Substantial evidence" is defined in the CEQA guidelines as "enough relevant information and reasonable inferences from this information that a fair argument can be made to support a conclusion, even though other conclusions might also be reached." (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, § 15384, subd. (a).)*fn4 "The agency is the finder of fact and we must indulge all reasonable inferences from the evidence that would support the agency's determinations and resolve all conflicts in the evidence in favor of the agency's decision." (Save Our Peninsula Committee v. Monterey County Bd. of Supervisors (2001) 87 Cal.App.4th 99, 117.) However, "[a]rgument, speculation, unsubstantiated opinion or narrative, evidence which is clearly inaccurate or erroneous . . . is not substantial evidence. Substantial evidence shall include facts, reasonable assumptions predicated upon facts, and expert opinion supported by facts." (§ 21082.2, subd. (c); Guidelines, § 15384.)

II

CEQA Generally

CEQA generally requires preparation and certification of an EIR by a lead public agency on any proposed project that may have a significant effect on the environment. (§§ 21080, subd. (d), 21082.2, subd. (d), 21100, subd. (a), 21151.) The EIR must describe, in detail, all the significant effects on the environment of the project. (Sunnyvale West Neighborhood Assn. v. City of Sunnyvale City Council (2010) 190 Cal.App.4th 1351, 1372 (Sunnyvale).) "In evaluating the significance of the environmental effect of a project, the lead agency shall consider direct physical changes in the environment which may be caused by the project and reasonably foreseeable indirect physical changes in the environment which may be caused by the project." (Guidelines, § 15064, subd. (d).) "CEQA compels government first to identify the environmental effects of projects, and then to mitigate those adverse effects through the imposition of feasible mitigation measures or through the selection of feasible alternatives. It permits government agencies to approve projects that have an environmentally deleterious effect, but also requires them to justify those choices in light of specific social or economic conditions. (§ 21002.)" (Sierra Club, supra, 7 Cal.4th at p. 1233.)

"With narrow exceptions, CEQA requires an EIR whenever a public agency proposes to approve or to carry out a project that may have a significant effect on the environment. [Citations.] 'Project' means, among other things, '[a]ctivities directly undertaken by any public [agency]' [or an activity undertaken by a person that is supported, in whole or in part, through contracts or other forms of assistance from one or more public agencies]. [Citation.] . . . The Legislature has made clear that an EIR is 'an informational document' and that '[t]he purpose of an environmental impact report is to provide public agencies and the public in general with detailed information about the effect which a proposed project is likely to have on the environment; to list ways in which the significant effects of such a project might be minimized; and to indicate alternatives to such a project." (Laurel Heights Improvement Assn. v. Regents of University of California (1988) 47 Cal.3d 376, 390-391, fn. omitted (Laurel Heights).)

"Under CEQA, the public is notified that a draft EIR is being prepared [citations], and the draft EIR is evaluated in light of comments received. [Citations.] The lead agency then prepares a final EIR incorporating comments on the EIR and the agency's responses to significant environmental points raised in the review process. [Citations.] The lead agency must certify that the final EIR has been completed in compliance with CEQA and that the information in the final EIR was considered by the agency before approving the project. [Citation.] Before approving the project, the agency must also find either that the project's significant environmental effects identified in the EIR have been avoided or mitigated, or that unmitigated effects are outweighed by the project's benefits." (Laurel Heights, supra, 47 Cal.3d at p. 391, fn. omitted.) "If CEQA is scrupulously followed, the public will know the basis on which its responsible officials either approve or reject environmentally significant action, and the public, being duly informed, can respond accordingly to action with which it disagrees. [Citations.] The EIR process protects not only the environment but also informed self-government." (Id. at p. 392.)

"[T]he ultimate decision of whether to approve a project, be that decision right or wrong, is a nullity if based upon an EIR that does not provide the decision-makers, and the public, with the information about the project that is required by CEQA." (Santiago County Water Dist. v. County of Orange (1981) 118 Cal.App.3d 818, 829.) In City of Santee v. County of San Diego (1989) 214 Cal.App.3d 1438, we stated that "only through an accurate view of the project may the public and interested parties and public agencies balance the proposed project's benefits against its environmental cost, consider appropriate mitigation measures, assess the advantages of terminating the proposal and properly weigh other alternatives . . . ." (Id. at p. 1454.) If a final EIR does not "adequately apprise all interested parties of the true scope of the project for intelligent weighing of the environmental consequences of the project," informed decisionmaking cannot occur under CEQA and the final EIR is inadequate as a matter of law. (Id. at pp. 1454-1455.)

Under CEQA, a public agency is required to mitigate or avoid the significant environmental effects of a project that it carries out or approves if it is feasible to do so. (§ 21002.1, subd. (b); Marina, supra, 39 Cal.4th at p. 359.) Measures to mitigate significant environmental effects adopted by the agency must be fully enforceable. (§ 21081.6, subd. (b).) "A public agency shall provide that measures to mitigate or avoid significant effects on the environment are fully enforceable through permit conditions, agreements, or other measures. . . ." (Ibid.)

III

Marina and Mitigation of Significant Off-site Environmental Impacts

City, SANDAG and MTS contend the trial court erred by concluding CSU complied with CEQA and Marina by finding "fair-share" payments by CSU for mitigation of the Project's significant off-site environmental impacts were infeasible because CSU could not guarantee the Legislature and Governor would approve mitigation funding and by concluding the FEIR was not required to address potential alternative means of paying CSU's "fair-share" of off-site mitigation costs.

A

The DEIR identified and discussed the Project's potentially significant off-site traffic impacts to certain street intersections, street segments, freeway ramps, and freeway mainline segments. For each of those potentially significant traffic impacts, the DEIR recommended specific mitigation measures, which primarily consisted of contributions to City of CSU's fair share of costs of implementing those mitigation measures (e.g., improvements to City street intersections and segments). As to each of the 34 traffic mitigation measures, the DEIR calculated CSU's respective "fair-share" percentage (ranging from 1 percent to 39 percent) of the total cost of that mitigation measure. With implementation of the proposed mitigation measures, the DEIR concluded all of the specific traffic impacts would be reduced to a level below significant, except for four specific impacts that would remain significant and unavoidable. Regarding CSU's mitigation measures, the DEIR stated: "Fair-share mitigation is recommended that would reduce the identified impacts to a level below significant. However, [CSU's] fair-share funding commitment is necessarily conditioned [on] requesting and obtaining funds from the California Legislature. If the Legislature does not provide funding, or if funding is significantly delayed, all identified significant impacts would remain significant and unavoidable."

In a letter dated July 27, 2007, City commented on the DEIR, restating many of the concerns it raised in its prior letter commenting on the NOP. City stated the DEIR's traffic impact analysis was "fatally flawed because it does not guarantee the implementation of the traffic mitigation measures it proposes." City disagreed with CSU's interpretation of Marina reflected in a quoted statement from the DEIR that CSU's "fair-share funding commitment is necessarily conditioned up[on] requesting and obtaining funds from the California Legislature. If the Legislature does not provide funding, or if funding is significantly delayed, all identified significant impacts would remain significant and unavoidable." (Underscoring added by City.) City quoted language from Marina on which CSU apparently relied and argued that language was "pure dictum."*fn5 City asserted the DEIR "fails because [CSU] disingenuously attempt[s] to dodge true responsibility [for mitigation of the Project's significant impacts] by relying on dicta in [Marina]."

In the FEIR, CSU responded to comments by City and others criticizing CSU's interpretation of Marina and its interpretation of its obligation under CEQA to discuss and propose measures to mitigate the Project's significant off-site traffic environmental impacts. The FEIR stated:

"The following are the requisite principles established by [Marina], relative to the [Project] and [FEIR]: [¶] . . . [¶]

"[CSU] is obligated to request funding from the Legislature for mitigation, including funds for its local agency fair-share mitigation costs. [Citation.]

"However, the power of [CSU] to mitigate the [P]roject's effects through voluntary mitigation payments is ultimately subject to legislative control; if the Legislature does not appropriate the money, the power does not exist. [Citation.]

"Thus, if the Legislature does not fund [CSU's] fair share, [CSU] has the authority to adopt a statement of overriding considerations and proceed with the [P]roject. [Citation.]"

Citing Marina, CSU's response further stated: "[T]he [FEIR] proposes a series of mitigation measures that requires [CSU], subject to funding by the state Legislature, to contribute its 'fair share' of the costs required to improve existing infrastructure, as needed. [Citation.] . . . Further, the [FEIR] determined that impacts related to traffic and circulation would be significant and unavoidable in light of the potential for the Legislature to deny CSU's or Caltrans'[s] funding requests, or to grant less funding than requested, or to delay receipt of the funds." CSU further stated:

"Consistent with [Marina], upon project approval by [CSU], the CSU Chancellor will request from the Governor and the state Legislature, through the annual State Budget process, the funds necessary to fulfill the mitigation requirements of CEQA, as determined by [CSU]. [¶] . . . [¶]

"If the Legislature approves the CSU funding request, or a portion of that request, it is anticipated the appropriated funds will be provided to [City] and the City of La Mesa in annual amounts corresponding to actual annual enrollment growth, provided that each entity identifies a fund or traffic impact fee program assuring that the funds will be expended solely in furtherance of the subject roadway improvements.

"Because CSU cannot guarantee that its request to the Governor and the Legislature for the necessary mitigation funding will be approved, or that Caltrans'[s] request for funding will be approved, or that funding will be granted in the amount requested, or that the public agencies will fund the mitigation improvements that are within their responsibility and jurisdiction, if the [P]roject is approved, CSU will find that the impacts whose [sic] funding is uncertain remain significant and unavoidable, and CSU will adopt a statement of overriding considerations pursuant to CEQA."

The FEIR made certain revisions to the DEIR, including a statement that its proposed traffic mitigation measures are consistent with Marina. As to many, if not most, of the specific traffic mitigation measures, the FEIR qualified CSU's obligation to contribute to City its fair share of mitigation costs by including the prefatory language "[s]ubject to funding by the state Legislature." The FEIR also listed its proposed fair-share percentage contribution, ranging from ` percent to 39 percent, toward the cost of each of the 34 specific off-site traffic mitigation measures. Although the FEIR concluded the Project "would result in significant impacts at various intersections, freeway interchanges and mainline segments" and recommended CSU pay "fair-share" mitigation to reduce those impacts below a level of significance, it concluded CSU's "fair-share funding commitment is necessarily conditioned upon requesting and obtaining funds from the California Legislature for those impacts within the jurisdiction of local agencies, and Caltrans obtaining funds from the Legislature for those impacts within its jurisdiction. If the Legislature does not provide funding, or if funding is significantly delayed, all identified significant impacts would remain significant and unavoidable." The FEIR then cited its response to comments on its interpretation of Marina.

CSU adopted the Findings and the mitigation measures set forth in the MMRP. In the Findings, CSU found the FEIR identified potentially significant effects that could result from implementation of the Project, but inclusion of mitigation measures as part of approval of the Project would reduce most, but not all, of those effects to less than significant levels. However, the Findings stated:

"Because CSU's request to the Governor and the Legislature, made pursuant to [Marina], for the necessary mitigation funding may not be approved in whole or in part, or because any funding request submitted by Caltrans may not be approved, and, because the local public agencies may not fund the mitigation improvements that are within their responsibility and jurisdiction, even if state funding is obtained, [CSU] finds there are no feasible mitigation measures that would reduce the identified significant impacts to a level below significant. Therefore, these impacts must be considered unavoidably significant even after implementation of all feasible transportation/circulation and parking mitigation measures." (Italics added.)

Furthermore, as to those significant impacts that are unavoidable even after incorporating all feasible mitigation measures, CSU found the benefits of the Project outweighed those unavoidable impacts. CSU approved resolutions stating that:

"7. A portion of the mitigation measures necessary to reduce traffic impacts to less than significant are the responsibility of and under the authority of the City . . . . The City and [CSU] have not come to agreement. [CSU] therefore cannot guarantee that certain mitigation measures that are the sole responsibility of the City will be timely implemented. [CSU] therefore finds that certain impacts upon traffic may remain significant and unavoidable if mitigation measures are not implemented, and adopts Findings of Fact that include specific Overriding Considerations that outweigh the remaining, potential, unavoidable significant impacts with respect to traffic and transit that are not under the authority and responsibility of [CSU].

"8. . . . [CSU] hereby certifies the FEIR for the [Project] as complete and adequate in that the FEIR addresses all significant environmental impacts of the [Project] and fully complies with the requirements of CEQA and the CEQA Guidelines. . .

"9. It is necessary, consistent with [Marina], for CSU to pursue mitigation funding from the [L]egislature to meet its CEQA fair-share mitigation obligations. The chancellor is therefore directed to request from the [G]governor and the [L]egislature, through the annual state budget process, the future funds ($6,484,000) necessary to support costs as determined by [CSU] necessary to fulfill the mitigation requirements of CEQA.

"10. In the event the request for mitigation funds is approved in full, the chancellor is directed to proceed with implementation of the [master plan for the Project]. Should the request for funds only be partially approved, the chancellor is directed to proceed with implementation of the [P]roject, funding identified mitigation measures to the extent of the available funds. In the event the request for funds is not approved, the chancellor is directed to proceed with implementation of the [P]roject consistent with resolution number 11 below.

"11. Because [CSU] cannot guarantee that the request to the [L]egislature for the necessary mitigation funding will be approved, or that the local agencies will fund the measures that are their responsibility, [CSU] finds that the impacts whose [sic] funding is uncertain remain significant and unavoidable, and that they are necessarily outweighed by the Statement of Overriding Considerations adopted by [CSU]."

CSU certified the FEIR and approved the Project.

In denying City's subsequent petition for writ of mandate and discharging the 2006 writ, the trial court issued a statement of decision, stating in part:

"[Marina] did not rule out the possibility that a voluntary payment negotiated . . . for the purpose of mitigating specified environmental effects would not satisfy [CSU's] CEQA obligations as to such effects. In reliance on this opinion, CSU negotiated with the City and Caltrans to determine its fair share of the offsite improvements. CSU then requested the necessary funds from ...


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