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California Fifth District Court of Appeal Holds City Did Not Abuse Discretion in Determining that Shopping Center Project was Consistent with Its General Plan

The Fifth District Court of Appeal has held that the City of Modesto’s General Plan contains flexible policies that permitted the approval of a shopping center larger than the size of shopping centers discussed in the city’s General Plan.

This case is significant because it reinforces that General Plan consistency determinations are to be given substantial deference, and that absent explicit language, General Plan policies are not mandatory directives or limits. The case also provides strong support for the deferential substantial evidence standard of review in CEQA cases. The court’s decision, initially as “not to be published” but later ordered published, is accessible online at:
(Alex DeGood)