MCA appeals Appeals Court's Decision

NEWS:  Appellate Court's renders its decision in favor of the County of Marin.

The Appeals Court Decision: We regret to inform you that on March 9th, the Appeals Court rendered its initial decision completely in favor of the County of Marin. However, this written decision showed how the three justices of the Court had based its opinion on assumptions that misstated or contradicted established facts in the case. Subsequently, MCA immediately requested a rehearing to the appellate court to review its faulty decision.  Our attorney Michael Graf submitted a detailed brief documenting these inaccuracies. We presumed that the court would not review their decision since these requests are more of a formality, and on April 6th the Appeals Court indeed declined to review their decision, as expected.

What this means:
a.  The Appeals Court’s unpublished ruling and their reasoning behind their decisions as it stands, is factually incorrect and contains contradictions.
b.  The Court’s decision, due to its inaccuracy in facts, has created more problems than it solves for everyone involved.

What Next?  On to the California Supreme Court!  What are our options now?  As it stands now the Appellate Court has left Marin County residents with a confused and unclear plan for the future.  Each of the 49 land sites of the County SEIR will now be subjected to individual legal challenges and unpredictable results.  Each community will now have to raise it’s own funds and awareness to monitor and fight each proposal as it comes on deck.

MCA has been a leading proponent of fighting this war on our county by unelected planners in one major attempt rather than fighting each and every one of 49 sites individually as well as the large scale rezoning of the county.  MCA is making one more attempt in the Courts to gain the legal verdict we all need and deserve.  The improper planning practices that need to be overturned by the courts are not only needed for Marin County but all California residents who also have cases before the Courts calling for this legal clarity. On April 18th MCA petitioned the Supreme Court that they should review this case because of the confusion that this case has created for the county and to some extent the state as a whole. If and when the Supreme Court decides what to do about this bureaucratic mess, we can reassess.




The Legal Challenge

The Brief

Amended Petition

The County Opposition Brief

The Reply Brief to the County

The Tentative Ruling

The Court's Decision

The County's Motion to Vacate

MCA's Response to Motion to Vacate

Chernus Denises County's Motions to Vacate

MCA appeals brief

MCA appeals reply brief

Appeals Court Opinion

MCA's Final Petition for Rehearing

MCA's Final Petition for Review

The Case Development:

9/24/2013BOS certifies HE.

10/24/2013 MCA challenges HE.

3/28/2014 County's effort to dismiss the case fails.

4/30/2014 Case Management Conference.  Court allows MCA to conduct their own administrative record.  A big WIN for MCA and Marin residents.

9/26/2014Administrative Record Complete.

11/24/2014 Opening Brief Filed. See link above.

11/24/2014 Amended Petition Filed.   

12/22/2014 County's Opposition Brief filed.

1/17/2015 Reply Brief to the County.

2/12/2015 The court continues the trial to March 27, 2015 siting "voluminous issues and documents".

3/23/2015 The March 27 Court Hearing has been cancelled. 

The Superior Court Judge has ordered a delay of the final Court Hearing in order for a Case Management Conference to be conducted.  The Case Management Conference will review the issue of whether a change of venue to another Superior Court, outside of Marin County, would be required for the final adjudication of this case.

3/30/2015The Court recused itself and has reassigned the case to Department B, Judge Chernus.

4/23/2015The Tentative Ruling.  See above for link.

4/29/2015 The Court Hearing.

4/29/2015  Honorable Judge heard both Plaintiff and Respondents arguments and he will make a final ruling within 90 days.

6/10/2015The Court’s Decision:  Superior Court Strikes Down the Marin County Housing Element SEIR for Violating CEQA

The Court’s Conclusion:

“The court finds that the Housing Element SEIR violated CEQA by not conducting its own environmental analysis for the significant traffic impacts discussed above, which impact was not adequately covered in the prior CWP EIR. The petition is granted on this ground…. “

Pursuant to Pub Res Code 21168 (9)b, it is ordered that a preemptory writ of mandate shall issue directing Respondent County to set aside the certification of the SEIR, the Approvals for the Housing Element and its Statement of Overriding Considerations, and take no further action until Respondent conducts the necessary environmental review consistent with CEQA” (California Environmental Quality Act) “… and to recirculate that new document as necessary.”

7/6/2015BREAKING NEWS: The county officially filed a motion to overturn the Court’s decision in favor of MCA by asking the judge to vacate his decision. This means that the judge voids his own ruling and re-instate the SEIR.

7/16/2015  MCA's Response to Motion to Vacate.MCA attorney Michael Graf expertly describes why the judge should keep the decision to set aside the SEIR.  If one must read any of the briefs written so far, this document is a must read.

8/7/2015 Honorable Judge Chernus denies County's Motion to Vacate.  He is very firm in his response to county as to why their arguments have no merit. To read his ruling follow the link above.

3/9/2016 Michael Graf files MCA appeals brief.

9/2/2016 Michael Graf files MCA appeals reply brief.

2/1/2017Appellate Court's Oral Argument.  350 McAllister Street, San Francisco CA 94102.

3/9/2017 Appeal Court Opinion See above

3/24/2017 MCA petitions for Re-hearing

4/6/2017 Appeals Court Denies Petition for Rehearing

4/18/2017 MCA appeals to Supreme Court





Photo Credit: ms.akr


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Our Mission

Marin Community Alliance (MCA) is a grassroots local community organization formed to protect and preserve the character of Marin County's communities and ensure that the local government planning policies respect and represent the interests, needs and desires of its constituents and their neighborhoods.

Michael Graf, who successfully won the SPAWN case against the county, is now representing MCA as legal counsel as our case proceeds to full litigation.

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