Findings: How to Bridge the Analytic Gap Between Raw Evidence & the Decision



Saturday, May 20, 2017
3:45 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. CDT

San Francisco, CA, United States

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Come learn how to turn facts into findings! More than 40 years have passed since the California Supreme Court penned the famous words in Topanga Association for a Scenic Community v. County of Los Angeles regarding the importance of making factually based, substantive findings. As the Supreme Court put it, in drafting findings, the lead agency must explain the analytic route the agency traveled from evidence to action.

Properly crafted findings reflect the substantial evidence upon which the agency’s determination is made and allows interested parties to draw conclusions and sub- conclusions from that information. After all these years one would expect that drafting findings would be an easy task. It is not. How best can a lead agency in fact show the path it traveled from evidence to action? How do we bridge the gap between raw evidence and the ultimate decision as the Supreme Court instructed all those years ago?



The goal of this interactive panel is three-fold: (1) to discuss the basics of findings of fact, (2) to review the specific CEQA findings that must be made before a project can be approved, and (3) to practice drafting defensible findings based on hypothetical factual situations created by the presenters. 


Carrie Tai

Carrie Tai, AICP, is the Current Planning Officer / Zoning Administrator for the City of Long Beach. Carrie heads the Current Planning division, which handles all development review for the City. As the Zoning Administrator, Carrie has the authority to interpret standards contained in the Zoning Ordinance, and to act upon ... Read More

Ruta Thomas

Ruta K. Thomas, REPA has nearly 20 years’ experience managing the preparation and coordination of highly complex, controversial, and visible environmental documents for urban and rural development and redevelopment projects throughout California. She is well versed in all areas of the California Environmental Quality Act and National Environmental Policy Act ... Read More

Alisha Winterswyk

Alisha Winterswyk is a Partner in the Environmental Law & Natural Resources practice group of Best Best & Krieger LLP. She represents public agency and private clients in the areas of the California Environmental Quality Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and state and federal endangered species laws. Alisha also advises public ... Read More

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Lynne Bynder,