Category: Land Use

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Coastal Development Permit Cannot Be Challenged in Court Until After Coastal Commission Decides an Appeal

A court challenge to a local agency’s decision to grant a coastal development permit becomes moot when the Coastal Commission accepts an appeal of the decision, the California court of appeal ruled in Fudge v. City of Laguna Beach, No. G05571 (4th Dist., Feb. 13, 2019). In 2017, the Laguna Beach City Council approved a … Continue Reading

29th Annual Briefing on Land Use and Development Law — Materials Available

Perkins Coie attorneys, including regular contributors to this report, recently presented the 29th Annual Land Use & Development Law Briefing in San Francisco, Palo Alto and Walnut Creek. The presentation focused on 2018 legal developments and trends in land use, affordable housing, CEQA, wetlands and endangered species. The final presentation in this year’s series is … Continue Reading

New State Density Bonus for Student Housing Takes Effect

As of January 1, State law offers a new density bonus to qualifying student housing developments. The legislation (Senate Bill 1227) is one of several bills the Legislature has passed over the last two years to address California’s unprecedented shortage of affordable housing. As explained by Senator Skinner, the sponsor of SB 1227, the bill is … Continue Reading

Zoning Ordinance Adopted To Make Zoning Consistent With General Plan May Be Rejected By Referendum

The California Supreme Court has resolved a split among the courts of appeal, concluding that citizens may bring a referendum to challenge a zoning ordinance even if the referendum would temporarily leave in place zoning inconsistent with the general plan. City of Morgan Hill v. Bushey, 5 Cal.5th 1068 (2018) Government Code Section 65860 requires … Continue Reading

Administrative Mandate is the Exclusive Method for Challenging an LCP under the Coastal Act

An appellate court has held that the sole means of challenging a certified local coastal program (LCP) based on violation of the California Coastal Act is a petition for writ of administrative mandate under Code of Civil Procedure section 1094.5. Beach and Bluff Conservancy v. City of Solana Beach, 28 Cal. App. 5th 244 (2018). … Continue Reading

Port Master Plan Conflicted with Coastal Act Goals

A core principle of the California Coastal Act is to maximize public access to the coast, including recreational opportunities in the coastal zone. The Court of Appeal determined that the Coastal Commission acted within its authority in rejecting an amendment to a port master plan as inconsistent with this principle. San Diego Unified Port Dist. … Continue Reading

Development Agreements Cannot Be Adopted By Initiative

A development agreement cannot be adopted by initiative, the California court of appeal ruled in Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice v. City of Moreno Valley, 26 Cal. App. 5th 689 (2018). The Development Agreement Statute The Development Agreement Statute (Government Code sections 65864–65869.5) allows a municipal government and a property owner to enter … Continue Reading

Ban on Short-Term Home Rentals Is a “Development” Subject to the Coastal Act

Underlining the broad and expansive definition of “development” under the California Coastal Act, the Second Appellate District ruled that a coastal homeowners’ association’s ban on short-term rentals is considered “development” subject to the requirements of the Coastal Act. Greenfield v. Mandalay Shores Community Association, 21 Cal. App. 5th (2018) The Mandalay Shores Community Association is … Continue Reading

Applicant Challenging Denial of Use Permit Must Prove It Is Legally Entitled to Permit

In an unsurprising decision, the Second District Court of Appeal upheld Ventura County’s decision to a deny a use permit that would allow tigers to be kept on property located within a half-mile of a residential area. Hauser v. Ventura County Board of Supervisors, 20 Cal.App.5th 572 (2018). Background. Plaintiff Irena Hauser applied for a … Continue Reading

Ellis Act preempts San Francisco ordinances requiring landlords to pay enhanced relocation payments

The Court of Appeal ruled that the Ellis Act preempted measures mandating relocation assistance payments of “the difference between the tenant’s current rent and the prevailing rent for a comparable apartment in San Francisco over a two-year period” because such mitigation constituted a prohibitive price for landlords to exit the rental business. Coyne v. City … Continue Reading

Local election over Walmart project invalidated for violation of the Brown Act

The court of appeal has overturned a local initiative because the City Council failed to agendize its consideration of Walmart’s offer to fund election costs. The court also determined that the initiative measure did not run afoul of the constitutional prohibition against naming or benefitting a corporation, since it applied to any developer of the … Continue Reading

Municipal Regulation of Telecommunications Equipment In Public Right Of Way Based On Aesthetic Considerations Not Preempted

The California Court of Appeal has upheld municipal regulation of telecommunications equipment in the public right-of-way against the argument that such regulations are preempted by state law. T-Mobile West LLC v. City and County of San Francisco, No. A144252 (1st Dist., Sept. 15, 2016). At issue was a San Francisco ordinance passed in 2011 that … Continue Reading

City’s Attempt to Use Emergency Ordinance to Scuttle Unpopular Project Violates Developer’s Vested Right

In Stewart Enterprises Inc., v. City of Oakland (2016) 248 Cal.App.4th 410 the court of appeal provided important clarification on the limits of a local agency’s ability to use an emergency ordinance to reach back and prohibit a previously-approved project. Stewart Enterprises involved a proposed crematorium in Oakland. After obtaining administrative zoning clearance for the … Continue Reading

General Plan’s Size Ranges for Shopping Centers a “Flexible” Policy, Not a Rigid Mandate

The City of Modesto’s General Plan includes a policy providing that certain neighborhoods “should” include a “7-9 acre neighborhood shopping center, containing 60,000 to 100,000 square feet.” The Fifth District Court of Appeal upheld against challenge the city’s determination that development of an approximately 170,000 square foot shopping center on about 18 acres in one … Continue Reading

CEQA Requires An Analysis Of The Project’s Impacts On The Environment, Not The Environment’s Impacts On The Project; California Supreme Court Sets Clear Limits On CEQA’s Reach

CEQA generally does not require that public agencies analyze the impact existing environmental conditions might have on a project’s future users or residents, according to the California Supreme Court’s decision in California Building Industry Association v Bay Area Air Quality Management District (S213478, December 17, 2015).  An agency must analyze how environmental conditions might adversely … Continue Reading

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
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