Judge Paul Burdick ruled, on March 8, that the EIR failed to satisfy the informational purpose of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), adding that the County committed a prejudicial abuse of discretion by certifying the EIR.
The ruling favors Sustainable Soquel, the group that sued the County. Burdick said that the County’s EIR failed to discuss and analyze a range of reasonable alternatives that could avoid or reduce the development’s potential negative impacts, including intensified traffic congestion.
Auto dealer and Pebble Beach resident Don Groppetti, who proposed the project, and the County of Santa Cruz will have to submit a revised EIR if Groppetti chooses to continue the project, according to the ruling.
CEQA guidelines state, “A project may not be approved as submitted if feasible alternatives (or mitigations) are not able to substantially lessen the significant environmental effects of the project.”
Burdick said that the alternatives selected by the County were flawed for numerous reasons and failed to satisfy both the procedural and substantive requirements of CEQA.
Groppetti owns six auto dealerships in Visalia, including one Nissan dealership, along with another Nissan dealership in Gilroy.
For more information e-mail Lisa Sheridan, Sustainable Soquel: Trotrider@aol.com