I am requesting the geographic information system (GIS) shapefiles (.shp, .dbf, .prj, .qpj, .shx) related to the proposed zoning of the Draft Uptown Community Plan, which is currently under EIR public comment review.
Please note that these files were initially requested from Marlon Pangilinan of the Planning Department on July 21 with refusals sent to me on July 25 and July 26. The rational for the refusal was the following: "The zoning shapefiles associated with the Draft Uptown Community Plan represent draft zoning and therefore are not being disclosed at this time."
According to Government Code §6254, subd. (a), the exemption of drafts applies only to “preliminary” drafts, notes or memos “that are not retained by the public agency in the ordinary course of business, provided that the public interest in withholding those records clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure.” The files in question are part of the Draft Uptown Community plan currently undergoing EIR review and are therefore not exempt from disclosure simply because they are drafts.
Although the Planning Department has released PDF files of the proposed zoning, in Sierra Club v. Superior Court (2013) __Cal.4th__ (Case No. S194708), the Supreme Court of California ruled that GIS files are not necessarily exempt from disclosure as they are considered data (and not software) and that files should be reproduced in any electronic format in which the information is held by the jurisdiction at a cost not to exceed the direct cost of duplication. As I am requesting the files electronically and they are managed electronically, I believe there should not be any duplication costs.
Thank you for your help. Please email me if you have any questions.