City of Vernon

88 Cal. App. 4th 672 (2001), 106 Cal. Rptr. 2d 145

The Court of Appeal (Second District, Division 1) affirmed the Commission’s denial of Vernon’s complaint against the Santa Fe Railroad, finding that substantial evidence supported the Commission’s finding that no EIR was required for expansion of the railroad’s terminal in Vernon.  The court held that “unlike review under CEQA where the burden of demonstrating the reasonableness of a project lies with its proponent, the burden here was on the City of Vernon as the opponent . . . to show that it was unreasonable.” The Court cites no statutory authority for assignment of the “burden of proof” to the City and its resolution of the matter rests on a conclusion that there was “substantial evidence” to support the railroads projections with regard to traffic. The assignment of  the “burden of proof” to the City may well stem from its status as a complainant in a adjudicatory matter before the Commission. With rare exceptions, however, (Section 854(e)) no statutory burden of proof exists.  See discussion of Ames, Para. 15.

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