In a tentative ruling issued this week, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Thomas Anderle denied Caltrans’ motion to proceed with the Cold Spring Canyon Bridge barrier construction while it recirculates the environmental impact report documents.
“Under the circumstances present here, the court believes that allowing the project to proceed will interfere with full CEQA compliance,” Anderle wrote.
Anderle supported the petitioners’ request for Caltrans to recirculate portions of the final environmental impact report, as the final grid-mesh barrier design was not decided upon in the draft version that was circulated to the public.
Anderle wrote that, though construction consists of distinct phases — drilling holes, fabricating panels and installing the barrier — “sequential steps in a single process, directed toward a single aim, are not ‘severable’ portions of a project within the meaning of CEQA,” therefore construction shouldn’t continue until the project is compliant with the public comment processes of CEQA.
On the issue of the existence of a barrier, “the court has no ability to address — and in fact, is legally prohibited form addressing — the issue of whether this barrier or any barrier should be constructed,” Anderle wrote.
Click here for the final EIR and more information on the suicide barrier project.
Check back with Noozhawk for a full report on Tuesday’s court proceedings.