Defend Our Waterfront v. Cal State Lands Comm'nAnnotate this Case
The controversial “8 Washington Street Project,” a plan to develop waterfront land near the San Francisco Ferry Building, includes “Seawall Lot 351,” which is currently owned by the City and County of San Francisco through its Port Commission, subject to the public trust for uses benefiting the people of California. The public trust restriction on the use of Seawall Lot 351 is inconsistent with the 8 Washington Street Project as conceived by the project developers. To remove this inconsistency, the Developers and the City devised a plan to transfer Seawall Lot 351 out of the public trust and replace it with a different parcel in a land exchange agreement with the State Lands Commission (SLC). SLC approved land exchange agreement, finding that the agreement was a statutorily exempt activity under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (Pub. Resources Code, 21000. Opponents challenged SLC’s reliance on a CEQA exemption for “settlements of title and boundary problems by the State Lands Commission and to exchanges or leases in connection with those settlements.” The trial court held and the court of appeal affirmed that the proposed land exchange agreement is not statutorily exempt from CEQA review.