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Cal Supremes Agree to Hear Banning, Newhall Ranch Cases

The California Supreme Court has agreed to hear two important planning and development cases - one involving Banning Ranch in Newport Beach and one involving the seemingly endless Newhall Ranch project. 

In Banning Ranch Conservancy v. City of Newport Beach, the Fourth District Court of Appeal overturned trial judge's ruling and ruled that Newport Beach's "approval" of the Banning Ranch project had not violated the California Environmental Quality Act, even though the city had not dealt with specific mitigations.  The ruling was based in large part on the fact that Newport Beach's Coastal Land Use Plan specifically excludes Banning Ranch, meaning final authority for approval of the Banning Ranch project lies with the Coastal Commission, not the city.

Meanwhile, Friends of the Santa Clara River v. County of Los Angeles (Newhall Land & Farming), is one of several cases in which environmentalists in the Santa Clarita Valley are challenging Newhall Land & Farming's plans to develop Newhall Ranch. In an unpublished ruling in April, the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed a trial court ruling upholding L.A. County's certification of the final environmental impact report for phase one of the project, known as Landmark Village. Many of the issues in the EIR revolve around water supply - a longstanding point of contention between Newhall and environmentalists. 

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