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Billionaire, Court Action, Newport Beach – It’s a ‘Reader’

With potential ripples for the California real estate market, there’s a classic court case playing out in Orange County that may be worth tracking.

At first, the dynamic seems to involve a rather standard “environmental versus development” issue. At stake is a 312-unit, multifamily complex’s construction near 4400 Van Karman, first reported here, and here:

Newport Beach was sued on environmental grounds after approving an apartment complex at the Koll Center business park near John Wayne Airport. The plaintiff argued the city failed to adequately assess the project’s impacts on noise, traffic and air pollution.

A key, apparent component in the legal case is CEQA – the California Environmental Quality Act. The language (public preamble?) for CEQA seems pretty straightforward, despite some grammatical wantings:

CEQA requires public agencies to “look before they leap” and consider the environmental consequences of their discretionary actions. CEQA is intended to inform government decisionmakers and the public about the potential environmental effects of proposed activities and to prevent significant, avoidable environmental damage. 


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