California Court of Appeals, Second District, First Division
SAN DIEGANS FOR OPEN GOVERNMENT et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants,
CITY OF SAN DIEGO, Defendant and Respondent; SUNROAD ENTERPRISES et al., Real Parties in Interest and Respondents
from a judgment of the Superior Court of San Diego County,
No. 37-2014-00014685-CU-TT-CTL, Judith F. Hayes, Judge.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Law Corporation, Cory J. Briggs, Anthony N. Kim and Kelly E.
Mourning for Plaintiffs and Appellants.
Goldsmith, City Attorney, and Glenn T. Spitzer, Deputy City
Attorney, for Defendant and Respondent.
Watson & Gershon, Steven H. Kaufmann and Ginetta L.
Giovinco for Real Parties in Interest and Respondents.
by Nares, J., with McConnell, P. J., and Huffman, J.,
Cal.Rptr.3d 39] NARES, J.
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (Pub. Resources
Code, § 21000 et seq.) case involves a
development by Sunroad Enterprises and Sunroad Centrum
Partners L.P. (together, Sunroad) of an
office, residential, and retail project in the Kearny Mesa
area of San Diego. Since 1997 the City of San Diego (the
City) Council has approved the area for development under a
master plan and over the ensuing years has thrice assessed
the project for environmental impacts as required by CEQA. In
2012 Sunroad obtained a permit from the City to begin certain
phases of residential development, including constructing
several multilevel buildings over parking and ground level
next year, Sunroad modified its design plans, ostensibly to
meet real estate market demands, and sought the City's
approval of the modified plans through a process known as
substantial conformance review (SCR). The City's staff
found that the modified plans substantially conformed with
the conditions and requirements of the previously issued
development permit and there was no need for further
environmental impact documentation under CEQA. San Diegans
for Open Government and CREED-21 (together, plaintiffs)
appealed the staff's decision to the City Planning
Commission (Planning Commission), which is comprised of
members appointed by the City Council. Following a public
hearing, the Planning Commission voted to uphold the SCR
decision. The City denied plaintiffs' appeal to the City
Council, which is comprised of elected officials.
argue they are entitled to appeal the SCR decision to the
City Council under CEQA and the San Diego Municipal Code
(SDMC). We disagree and affirm the judgment.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
City Council Assesses the Project's
Environmental Impacts Under CEQA
the City Council approved a master plan (Master Plan) and
related agreements and permits to allow the development of a
high-density, mixed-use retail, commercial, and industrial
business park on 242 acres centrally located in the Kearny
Mesa area. As part of the review process for the Master Plan,
the City Council certified a final, program environmental
impact report (EIR). The EIR recites its preparation "
in accordance with state CEQA Guidelines Section 15168"
and its intent " to provide a comprehensive single
environmental document that will allow the City of San Diego,
as the lead agency, to carry out the entire project."
The EIR contemplates subsequent actions by the City to "
implement specific development plans" without additional
environmental documentation " unless as otherwise
required by [section] 21166 and state CEQA Guidelines Section
15160 et seq."
the City Council amended the original industrial/commercial
development permit to include residential development--up to
almost 1,000 dwelling units-- [212 Cal.Rptr.3d 40] on a
portion of the site. The City adopted an addendum to the EIR
(Addendum), which discussed the proposed residential
development and concluded there were no new significant
environmental impacts. In 2002 the City Council amended its
progress guide and general plan to increase the maximum
amount of residential development allowed in the Master Plan
area to 1,568 units and adopted a mitigated negative
declaration (MND), which found that, with mitigation measures
described in the document, the additional residential units
would not have a significant environmental effect.
Obtains Permission to Begin ...