Preservation Action Council of San Jose v. City of San JoseAnnotate this Case
The eight-acre San Jose City View Plaza contained nine buildings, including the Bank, built in 1971, which later housed the County Family Court. The Bank was eligible for listing on the California Register of Historic Resources and National Register of Historic Places. The site development permit provided for the demolition of all structures, followed by the construction of three, 19-story office towers, 65,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, and five levels of underground parking.
The city council certified the Downtown Strategy 2040 final environmental impact report under the California Environmental Quality Act (Pub. Resources Code 21000 (CEQA)), finding that the Plaza required a supplemental environmental impact report (SEIR). The draft SEIR identified the proposed demolition of the buildings as a “significant unavoidable impact” and presented mitigation measures, to document the structures, advertise their availability for relocation, and otherwise make the structures available for salvage. The city voted not to designate the Bank as a city landmark and approved the permit, certifying the Final SEIR and rejecting project alternatives as infeasible because the “anticipated economic, social, and other benefits” of the project outweighed its “significant and unavoidable impacts.”
After the trial court denied a mandate petition filed by opponents, the Bank was demolished. The court of appeal affirmed. The Final SEIR’s discussion of mitigation for the unavoidable loss of significant historic resources complied with CEQA. San Jose did not abuse its discretion by briefly considering and rejecting additional mitigation measures.