Group sues Petaluma over approval of Regency shopping center

PETALUMA -- A group opposed to the East Washington Place regional shopping center project has sued the city of Petaluma, asking for the City Council's early February project approvals to be set aside and a new round of environmental-impact analysis be conducted because of alleged lapses in following the California Environmental Quality Act.

A group called Petaluma Community Coalition petitioned Sonoma County Superior Court on Thursday to set aside the City Council's Feb. 8 approvals of a 364,000-square-foot shopping center and ancillary office space Florida-based Regency Centers plans to build on about 34 acres on East Washington Street near Highway 101, according to the 13-page filing.

Also sought is a halt to any further project activity Regency could take with the approvals.

"As certified by the city, the project's final EIR fails to identify, evaluate and require mitigation for all direct, indirect and cumulative environmental impacts the project will cause," the complaint said.

The coalition faulted the city for its CEQA process in analyzing and mitigating significant impacts on the environment, requiring "all feasible mitigation measures", discussing project alternatives, responding "adequately" to draft environmental report comments, recirculating the report when "significant new information" materialized and supporting its statement of overriding concerns for approving the project despite any significant impacts.

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