G.I. Industries v. City of Thousand Oaks
(2022) 84 Cal.App.5th 814
On November 22, 2022, the California Court of Appeal for the Second District issued an order denying rehearing and modifying its original G.I. Industries v. City of Thousand Oaks decision, dated October 26, 2022. As previously summarized by this firm, the Court of Appeal in G.I. Industries determined the trial court erred when it sustained demurrers brought by the local agency and real parties in interest, thus dismissing petitioner’s claims. Substantively, G.I. Industries interpreted the Brown Act to require that the meeting agenda for a regular meeting of a local legislative body explicitly include reference to a CEQA exemption determination, if such a determination is being considered by the legislative body during the course of the meeting.
The Second District’s order modifying its October 26 decision included six changes, all of which were relatively minor. The modifications made to the decision were:
- The addition of a sentence stating local residents would want to know that the City Council was voting at a public meeting on finding whether a CEQA exemption applied to the City’s approval of a solid waste franchise agreement.
- The removal of a sentence stating, “It is undisputed that the contract at issue here qualifies as a project within the meaning of CEQA.”
- Clarification that the petitioner alleged that a finding of a CEQA exemption was made by motion and voted on at the City Council meeting. Previously, the decision stated the petition alleged that approval of the CEQA exemption was made by motion and voted on at the meeting. It remains to be seen whether this seemingly small modification will limit application of the Court’s holding (i.e., agenda-listing requirements for CEQA exemptions only apply when legislative body is finding whether an exemption applies versus approving use of an exemption).
- Clarification that the City, not the City Council, was the lead agency for purposes of CEQA.
- Modification of its prior conclusion that the petitioner has shown it is entitled to have the CEQA exemption determination declared void to a conclusion the petitioner has alleged sufficient facts that, if proven, would entitle the petitioner to have the CEQA exemption determination be declared void. This modification reflects the appropriate standard when reviewing a demurrer.
- Amendment of its prior conclusion that the Court need not determine now whether the petitioner is entitled to other relief to a conclusion that the Court need not determine now whether MW may be entitled to other relief. This modification again reflects the appropriate standard when reviewing a demurrer.
Lastly, the real party in interest and respondent each filed a petition for review with the California Supreme Court on December 5, 2022. The Supreme Court has 60 days to grant or deny the petition or order an extension for its determination on the petition. In addition, non-parties to the action, the County of Solano and California State Association of Counties filed a request for depublication of the Court of Appeal decision. The Supreme Court has yet to rule on the request.
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