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Development Approval Violated Zoning Laws

(CN) - A California appeals court partially sided with conservationists in ruling that the city of Rancho Cordova violated its zoning laws when it approved a residential and commercial development project.

The California Native Plant Society sued the city over its approval of the Preserve at Sunridge project.

The trial court ruled that Rancho Cordova also violated the California Environmental Quality Act for improperly mitigating the project's impact on the wetland habitat and its animal species, and the fish in the Cosumnes River.

Also, the trial court ruled that the city violated its Planning and Zoning Law by failing to mitigate the project's impact on specially protected plant and animal species.

On appeal, Justice Robie overturned the state law decision.

"The city determined the impact the project would have - habitat loss - and identified a specific measure to mitigate that impact - preservation or creation of replacement habitat off site in a specific ratio to the habitat lost in the project," Robie wrote.

However, the 3rd District Court of Appeal allowed the municipal-law violation to stand, because the city did not design a mitigation strategy in coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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