Timothy D. McGonigle P.C. files lawsuit
Timothy D. McGonigle P.C. filed a lawsuit on September 7, 2017, seeking to set aside the Los Angeles City Council’s (“City Council”) approval of a mixed-use real estate development project known as the “Hollywood Ivar Gardens Project” (the “Project”) which is to be a 21-story hotel to be constructed at 6407-6411 West Sunset Boulevard, 1512 North Cahuenga Blvd., and 1511 North Ivar Avenue in Los Angeles, California, at the intersection of Ivar Avenue and Sunset Boulevard.
The City Council approved the Project without requiring any Environmental Impact Report. The lawsuit alleges that the City Council failed to require that the Project’s developer properly analyze and mitigate the Project’s impact in compliance with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (Pub. Resources Code, §21000 et seq.) (“CEQA”).
CEQA requires public agencies to prepare an Environmental Impact Report whenever the approval of a project may cause significant adverse effects on the environment. The purpose of the Environmental Impact Report under CEQA, is to provide the agency and interested members of the public with detailed information about the effect that a proposed project is likely to have on the environment, to list ways in which the effects of the project might be minimized, and to indicate alternatives to the project. If a project may result in a significant effect on the environment, then the lead agency cannot adopt a negative declaration, but must instead prepare an EIR. (Pub. Resources Code §§ 21080, subd. (d); 21082.2, subd. ( d); CEQA Guidelines, §15063, subd. (b)(1), 15064.)
An agency must prepare an Environmental Impact Report whenever it can be fairly argued on the basis of substantial evidence that a project may have a significant environmental impact. If there is substantial evidence both for and against preparing an Environmental Impact Report, then the agency must prepare the Environmental Impact Report. The City Council was presented with substantial evidence – including extensive expert opinion testimony- demonstrating that the Project’s MND was flawed and failed to fully disclose and analyze potential impacts (e.g. noise, traffic, GHG, air quality, land use consistency, etc.). Multiple objectors informed the City that there was a fair argument contrary to the MND’s CEQA findings, and requested a more thorough Project-specific EIR. Despite the objections, the City Council approved the project.
The lawsuit alleges that the City Council prejudicially abused their discretion and failed to proceed in the manner mandated by CEQA by approving the Project and adopting a Mitigated Negative Declaration (“MND”) for the Project instead of requiring preparation of an EIR. The lawsuit further alleges that the City Council further violated CEQA by failing to even require the Developer to commit to carrying out all of the noise mitigation measures called for by the Developer’s own experts.
The complaint requests that the court grant a peremptory writ of mandate ordering the City Council and Los Angeles Planning Department to set aside and void the Project Approval, pending the City’s full compliance with CEQA and its Municipal Code including preparation of appropriate CEQA documentation and zoning findings.
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