Architectural Heritage Association v. County of Monterey

122 Cal. App. 4th 1095, 19 Cal. Rptr. 3d 469 (2004)

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Architectural Heritage Association v. County of Monterey

California Court of Appeal
122 Cal. App. 4th 1095, 19 Cal. Rptr. 3d 469 (2004)

Facts

Architectural Heritage Association (AHA) (plaintiff) filed a petition for writ of mandate against the County of Monterey (County) (defendant) to stop the County’s plan to demolish the Old Jail in Salinas, California, in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Old Jail was built in 1931 and briefly housed Cesar Chavez in 1970 but was no longer operational as a jail by the 1980s. Over the decades, the Old Jail suffered extensive deterioration and was in poor physical condition by the late 1990s. The Old Jail was not listed on the state or federal registers of historic places, but at least one expert identified the Old Jail as a potential addition to both registers. In 1999, the County initiated the necessary actions to demolish the Old Jail as prescribed by CEQA. An initial study concluded that renovation of the Old Jail was not feasible, but demolition of the building would likely have substantial adverse effect on a historic resource unless the County took extensive mitigation measures. Accordingly, the County prepared a mitigated negative declaration that proposed mitigating the effects of demolition through photographic documentation of the Old Jail, preparation of a historic monograph, salvage of specific architectural elements, and retention of structural blueprints. When the mitigated negative declaration was submitted to the public for comment, it received extensive backlash from various boards that recommended the County prepare a full EIR. After a public hearing in 2002, the County adopted the mitigated negative declaration and issued a demolition permit for the Old Jail. AHA filed an administrative appeal that was denied by the County’s Board of Supervisors, so AHA filed its petition in the trial court. After the trial court denied AHA’s writ, AHA appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McAdams, J.)

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