Category: Land Use

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Risks to Open Space Designated in General Plan’s Open Space Element a Valid Ground for Denying Application to Subdivide a Mobilehome Park

A city may deny a proposed mobilehome park subdivision that is inconsistent with the open space element of its general plan, according to the recent court of appeal decision in Carson Harbor Village, Ltd. v. City of Carson, No. B25011 ( Second Dist. August 21, 2015.) Carson Harbor Village applied to the City of Carson to … Continue Reading

Supplement to Curtin’s California Land Use and Planning Law (34th Ed.) Available as Free Download

The 2015 Supplement to the 34th edition of Curtin’s California Land Use & Planning Law is being made available as a free download on Solano Press.  It can be accessed here: Supplement — Curtin’s California Land Use This Supplement is intended for use in conjunction with Curtin’s California Land Use & Planning Law, Thirty-Fourth Edition … Continue Reading

Courts Continue to Reject Claims That Reasonable Reliance on Public Agency Representations Establishes an Entitlement to an Existing Use of Property

Property owners should not rely on courts to uphold equitable estoppel claims against local agencies to establish an entitlement to an existing use of property. Under the doctrine of equitable estoppel, a public agency may be barred, or “estopped,” from asserting that an existing use of property is invalid if the property owner justifiably relied on the … Continue Reading

Don’t Bank On It: Court of Appeal Takes Issue with City’s Development Prohibition

A city cannot prohibit development on more than one-third of an otherwise developable site in anticipation of future condemnation of that portion of the property. Such a restriction denies the landowner all economically beneficial use of the restricted land and constitutes a taking requiring just compensation. Jefferson Street Ventures, LLC v. City of Indio, No. … Continue Reading

Controversial Clean Water Act Rule Published

The Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers published a final rule on May 27, 2015 to redefine the critically important term “Waters of the United States” under the federal Clean Water Act. The rule explains the agencies’ jurisdiction with respect to “tributaries” and “adjacent” waters and comes amidst considerable debate over where to … Continue Reading

25th Annual Briefing on Land Use and Development Law — Materials Available

Perkins Coie attorneys — most of whom contribute regularly to this report — recently presented the 25th Annual Land Use & Development Law Breakfast Briefing in Palo Alto, San Francisco and Walnut Creek.   The presentation focused on 2014 developments and trends in land use, affordable housing, school facilities financing, CEQA, real estate and environmental and resources … Continue Reading

EIR For SANDAG’s Regional Transportation Plan Rejected By Court Of Appeal

In a long-awaited 2-1 decision, a court of appeal overturned the environmental impact report for the San Diego Association of Governments’ 2050 Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy. Cleveland National Forest Foundation v. San Diego Association of Governments (4th Dist., Div. 1, No. D063288, Nov. 24. 2014).   The most remarkable ruling, in what is likely … Continue Reading

Coastal Commission Erred In Finding Property Owner Is Stuck With Unconstitutional Dedication Condition

In an opinion on rehearing, the Second District Court of Appeal overturned a California Coastal Commission decision that a condition of a county-issued coastal development permit could not be eliminated by a second coastal development permit the county issued for the same project. Bowman v California Coastal Commission, No. B243015, Oct. 23, 2014.  Focusing on … Continue Reading

Annexation To District Is Not Authorized For Sole Purpose Of Extending Right To Vote In District Elections

“No taxation without representation”  is a powerful rallying cry, but it’s not enough to justify an application for annexation of territory to a special district, according to recent court of appeal decision. City of Patterson v Turlock Irrigation District  (5th Dist. F067629 June 25, 2014).  The court held that there is no statutory authorization for expansion … Continue Reading

Compliance With FAA Regulations Provides Adequate CEQA Mitigation For Aviation Safety Impacts

Reliance on compliance with FAA regulations as a mitigation measure to reduce impacts to air safety to less than significant levels is appropriate under CEQA, according to the Court of Appeal  in Citizens Opposing A Dangerous Environment v. County of Kern, 228 Cal.App.4th 360 (5th Dist. July 25, 2014). Two wind energy companies applied to … Continue Reading

CEQA Compliance Not Required For Council-Adopted Land Use Initiative Measure

Developers, project opponents, agencies and courts often lose the forest for the trees when considering CEQA issues.  A prime example is the conflicting appellate authority and public debate on the question whether a city council’s adoption of a voter-sponsored initiative measure is subject to CEQA. In Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court, … Continue Reading

New Proposed CEQA Guidelines on Traffic Impacts Issued: It’s How Far You Go, Not How Slow

By Stephen Kostka and Barbara Schussman Senate Bill 743, enacted in 2013, was designed to create a process for changing the way traffic impacts are examined under CEQA. The concept was to take the focus away from vehicle delay, measured by level of service, which has resulted in mitigation requirements to increase intersection and road … Continue Reading

Renewal of Interim Contracts For Delivery of Central Valley Project Water to Districts an Ongoing Project Exempt from CEQA

In February 2012, the Westlands Water District and related water distribution districts entered into two-year interim renewal contracts with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation relating to the Bureau’s ongoing provision of Central Valley Project water to the Districts.  The purpose of the interim contracts was to continue the existing terms for water delivery in advance … Continue Reading

Santa Cruz Becomes First County to Ban Fracking

Santa Cruz County has become the first California county to permanently ban the controversial oil and gas drilling technique known as fracking. By a 5-0 vote, the Board of Supervisors this week amended its General Plan to prohibit all facilities for oil and gas exploration and development within the unincorporated County. The ban replaces a … Continue Reading

Conditions of Approval: “No Do-Overs” On A Condition The Landowner Failed To Challenge When First Imposed.

A landowner’s attack on a condition of approval of a development permit was barred by the landowner’s failure to contest the same condition when it was imposed on an earlier permit, according to a recent court of appeal decision.  Bowman v California Coastal Commission, B243015 (2d Dist 2014).  San Luis Obispo County issued a coastal … Continue Reading

Challenge To Annexation Dismissed Due To Failure To Comply With Required Procedures

CEQA and other claims challenging a completed annexation were dismissed because they had not been brought in a reverse validation proceeding.  Protect Agricultural Land v. Stanislaus County Local Agency Formation Commission (No. F066544, 1/28/14) The Stanislaus County Local Agency Formation Commission approved annexation of land into the City of Ceres, relying on an EIR the … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Makes It Easier To Challenge Local Affordable Housing Requirements

Under the Mitigation Fee Act, when a city imposes a fee, dedication, reservation or other exaction on a development project, the developer has the right to pay under protest, obtain the necessary project approvals and proceed with construction, while at the same time disputing the legality of the requirement.  In Sterling Park v. City of … Continue Reading

City Council’s Interpretation of General Plan Prevails Despite Conflict With Plan’s Land Use Map

A city council has sweeping authority to interpret the city’s general plan.  That authority trumped a successful referendum campaign designed to block a residential development project, according to the court’s decision  in Orange Citizens for Parks and Recreation v. Superior Court, Case No. G047013 (4th App. Dist., July 10, 2013).  The court held that the city didn’t need … Continue Reading

Offsite Conservation Easements Are Feasible Mitigation For Loss Of Agricultural Resources According to Appellate Court

The First District Court of Appeal has ruled an EIR inadequate for failure to explore fully the use of conservation easements to mitigate impacts to agricultural resources. Masonite Corporation v. County of Mendocino, No. A134896 (First Dist., July 25, 2013). Mendocino County certified an EIR for a proposed sand and gravel quarry that would have … Continue Reading

Coastal Commission May Not Review City Nuisance Abatement Ordinance Passed In Good Faith

The California Coastal Commission lacks jurisdiction to review a city’s adoption of a nuisance ordinance because a municipality’s enactment of an ordinance is not an appealable action.  However, the city must demonstrate that it exercised its nuisance abatement power, pursuant to Coastal Act section 30005(b), in good faith, and not as a pretext for avoiding its … Continue Reading