League for Protection of Oakland's Architectural and Historic Resources v. City of Oakland

52 Cal. App. 4th 896 (1997)

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League for Protection of Oakland’s Architectural and Historic Resources v. City of Oakland

California Court of Appeal
52 Cal. App. 4th 896 (1997)

  • Written by Jody Stuart, JD

Facts

The Montgomery Ward building in the City of Oakland (city) (defendant) occupied a full city block and was identified as a historical resource in the city’s general plan. Montgomery Ward Company (Montgomery) vacated the building in 1986. Subsequently, the city entered into an agreement with Montgomery to demolish the building and replace it with a shopping center. The city conducted an initial study for the proposed project. The study proposed mitigation measures for the effects of the demolition, including preparation of a historic-resources documentation report for the city archives, a historical-building survey to further document the building, design of the proposed shopping center to reflect elements of the original building’s architecture, and a plaque or marker on the site to commemorate the building. The study concluded that with these mitigation measures the proposed project would result in less-than-significant impacts to historical resources. Based on that conclusion, the city certified a negative declaration instead of preparing an environmental-impact report on the proposed project. The plans for the new building remained tentative and vague. The League for Protection of Oakland’s Architectural and Historic Resources (league) (plaintiff) brought an action against the city in state trial court, alleging that the city was required to prepare an environmental-impact report before approving demolition of the building. The trial court found that the city was not required to prepare an environmental-impact report before approving the demolition. The league appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Swager, J.)

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