The Attorney General’s Office has just issued the attached advice letter that concludes the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC”) is a “trustee agency” for the purposes of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The SMMC and its related agency, the Mountains Resource and Conservation Authority own and manage important open spaces in Mt. Washington: Elyria Canyon Park, Rainbow Canyon and Heidleberg Park.
Why is this significant? The City of Los Angeles Planning Department has not been circulating environmental documents to the SMMC/MRCA for comment and recommendations to mitigate project impacts on sensitive tree and plant communities under its jurisdiction. The Attorney General’s opinion letter confirms the litigation position of landowners in the Rainbow Avenue Safety Coalition lawsuit that asserted the City violated CEQA which it ignored the right of SMMC/MRCA, as a trustee agency, to consult with the City and comment on impacts on its parks and plant communities. This allows us the opportunity to consult with SMMC on those projects and work to minimize the negative impact of construction on the environmental resources entrusted to the SMMC/MRCA.