On Demand

Environmental Issues in California Land Use Transactions

1h 32m

Created on January 06, 2017




The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is the 800-pound gorilla looming over all land use decisions in California. Every discretionary decision made by a local or state agency that allows a significant change in the use or physical condition of real property must comply with CEQA's stringent environmental review requirements. Many of these decisions end up in court challenges by project opponents that result in costly delays.

Although the environmental process is technical in nature, and involves planners, traffic engineers, biologists, toxicologists and other technical experts, attorneys play a critical role throughout the process in helping avoid legal pitfalls and minimizing the chances of successful litigation.

This course is designed to help in-house counsel, and real estate, land use and environmental attorneys representing property owners, real estate investors, developers, and government agencies understand how attorneys can add value to the process of preparing environmental review documents in compliance with CEQA.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the different roles played by the key players in the CEQA process: the project applicant and its consultants and counsel; the lead government agency's elected leadership, staff, counsel and consultants; other government agencies issuing approvals for aspects of the project, and various other stakeholders commenting on the environmental documents, including neighborhood groups, environmental organizations, labor unions, and competitors
  2. Discuss how to determine the appropriate type of CEQA document to prepare for different types of projects – categorical exemptions, community plan exemptions, negative declarations, program-level versus project-level environmental impact reports, supplemental environmental impacts report, and addenda
  3. Examine the key elements of a CEQA document that require involvement from attorneys, including preparing a "finite, stable and accurate" project description, selecting a reasonable range of project alternatives, crafting legally adequate significance findings and mitigation measures, and preparing the all-important responses to comments and final CEQA findings and statement of overriding considerations 

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