For the second time in a month, Susan Rainier has filed a lawsuit against a development in the city of Davis. This time it is filed against Lincoln40. The city received a letter on Thursday, dated April 12, notifying them of the action.
Last month Ms. Rainier filed a suit against Nishi, along with Colin Walsh.
In a letter from the Sacramento-based firm, Soluri Meserve, they write, “Petitioner Susan Rainier intends to file a Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate (the ‘Petition’) under the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act., Public Resources Code section 21000 et seq. (‘CEQA’), against the City of Davis (‘City’).”
The letter notes: “The Petition challenges Respondent’s March 13, 2018 decisions, and all subsequent actions, in approving: a General Plan amendment; Gateway / Olive Drive Specific Plan amendment; development agreement; affordable housing plan; lot merger; and other associated entitlements purporting to authorize the Lincoln40 development project, which includes a 249,788 square-foot multi-family residential building, parking areas, and various amenities (the ‘Project’).”
It concludes: “The lawsuit will be based on violations of CEQA and other claims, as discussed more fully in the Project’s administrative and environmental review proceedings. The exact nature of the allegations and relief sought is described in the Petition that Petitioner plans to file on April 12, 2018.”
At the March 13 meeting, Mayor Robb Davis noted that the city wasn’t even required to submit an EIR for the Lincoln40 project, because as a Transit Priority Project it was exempt from the need to do an EIR. The city however, in an abundance of caution, went the extra mile to do an EIR on the project, hoping to avoid litigation.
Clearly that decision did not work bear the fruit that was hoped.
However, as the mayor pointed out, the litigation comes with a cost to the community itself.
The mayor explained, “I think that gets to this council’s willingness to be transparent and staff’s desire to be transparent. I think those are important qualities but they do add costs that mean that we can’t do other things.”
He said, “I think we need to consider the burden that we place on any project and what it means. It bothered me a little bit over the weekend.
“As a disclosure document it’s something that we can be proud of,” he added. “But does it really serve our community when we’re not required to – and it adds costs that otherwise could be going into a few extra beds.”
In the previous lawsuit, the petition challenged council’s February 6 decision on CEQA grounds, arguing that “members of Davis Coalition for Sensible Planning are residents of the City of Davis and have personal, community and environmental interests that are directly and adversely affected by the City’s approval of the Revised Project and issuance of the Notice of Determination (‘NOD’).”
In an email to the Vanguard, Ms. Rainer stated, “My concerns are clearly stated in the No position on the ballot.”
She argued, “It is not fit for human occupation.” Ms. Rainier added, “It would be a fabulous place for (a) sun-tracking photovoltaic array that would be in the Community Choice Aggregate portfolio. Being bound on all sides by freeway and railroad would prevent theft and hook up to PGE high power (which) is right there.”
She asked, “Would you live there? Would you want your children living there?” She pointed to studies of childhood asthma and exposure to traffic.
She pointed out that the Community Health guide from the ARB (Air Resources Board) “[c]alls for sensitive buildings (housing) a minimum of 500 feet from freeway – Oops – that would be the railroad – that is even more toxic.”
The petition argues on CEQA grounds, “The City’s failures, set forth in this Petition, constitute a prejudicial abuse of discretion within the meaning of the Code of Civil Procedure and CEQA” and that they have “no plain, speedy or adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. If the City’s actions regarding the Revised Project are effectuated, Petitioner and the environment will be irreparably harmed.”
What was received on Thursday, at the deadline for filing notification of a suit, was a letter. In a few days, we should have a copy of the petition itself.
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—David M. Greenwald reporting