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Ukiah Citizens for Safety First v. City of Ukiah

California Court of Appeals, First District, Third Division

June 21, 2016

UKIAH CITIZENS FOR SAFETY FIRST, Plaintiff and Appellant,
v.
CITY OF UKIAH et al., Defendants and Respondents.

         [CERTIFIED FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION[*]]

         Mendocino County Superior Court No. SCUKCVPT1463579 Honorable Jeanine Nadel, Judge

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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         COUNSEL

         Kopper & Morgan, and William D. Kopper for Plaintiff and Appellant.

         Rapport and Marston, David J. Rapport Armbruster Goldsmit & Delvac, Damon P. Mamalakis and Dale J. Goldsmith for Defendant and Respondent.

         OPINION

         Pollak, J.

         Plaintiff Ukiah Citizens for Safety First (Citizens) appeals from the denial of its petition for writ of mandate under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (Pub. Resources Code, § 21050 et seq.), [1] challenging the certification of an environmental impact report (EIR) by the City of Ukiah and its city council (the city) for the construction of a Costco Wholesale Corporation (Costco) retail store and gas station. Citizens contends: (1) the EIR did not properly identify and analyze potentially significant energy impacts generated by the project; (2) the EIR’s analysis of transportation and traffic impacts is inadequate; (3) the EIR’s analysis of noise impacts is inadequate; and (4) the project is inconsistent with applicable zoning requirements.

         We agree with Citizens that the EIR fails to sufficiently analyze potential energy impacts and that the adoption of an addendum to the EIR subsequent to approval of the EIR and of the project failed to comply with CEQA requirements. In the unpublished portion of this opinion, we reject the remainder of Citizens’ contentions. Accordingly, we shall reverse the judgment and instruct that the petition for writ of mandate be granted with respect to the analysis of energy impacts of the project and affirm the trial court’s decision in all other respects.

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         Factual and Procedural Background

         On February 1, 2011, Costco applied for a use permit to construct a warehouse store and gas station (the project) on a 15.33-acre site located in the southeast section of the city. Because the project did not comport with current zoning, Costco also sought to have the site rezoned.

         On January 30, 2013, the city released a draft EIR for the project. In November 2013, following the period for public comment, the city released the final EIR. The EIR describes the project as a 148, 000-square-foot retail facility with a bakery, pharmacy, optical center, hearing aid testing center, food court, photo center, tire center, and a gas station with 16 pumps. The store would provide 608 parking stalls for customer vehicles.

         Among other things, the EIR reports the project would increase traffic volumes on area roadways resulting in significant traffic impacts at identified intersections. The EIR includes mitigation measures to reduce the impact, including modifications to the impacted intersections, that will result in acceptable conditions at the impacted intersections. However, due to uncertainty of timing and funding of the mitigation measures, the EIR concludes that the traffic impacts of the project cannot be mitigated to a level that is less than significant. The EIR also concludes that the increase ...


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