Category: Land Use

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County Biosolids Ban Halted

In 2006, the voters of Kern County adopted “Measure E,” an initiative which sought to prohibit the use of agricultural fertilizer made from recycled municipal sewage sludge.  Land application of this material, referred to in the industry as “biosolids,” is a widespread and comprehensively regulated form of recycling.  Many local waste management systems depend on … Continue Reading

New Significance Standard for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Is Not New Information Triggering Supplemental CEQA Review

The court of appeal opinion issued today in Concerned Dublin Citizens clearly answers three CEQA questions which haven’t been directly addressed in other published opinions: the proper interpretation of the statutory exemption for housing projects that are consistent with a specific plan; how the CEQA guideline on further review following a program EIR should be … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Rules Temporary Flooding May Give Rise To Takings Claim

In an important constitutional decision, the Supreme Court made clear there is no “blanket” rule prohibiting a takings cause of action for government-induced flooding that is only temporary.  The Court therefore reversed the Federal Circuit, which had decided such flooding must be “permanent or inevitably recurring” to give rise to a viable takings claim.  Arkansas … Continue Reading

Water Discharge Permit for Dairies Invalidated Under State’s Antidegradation Policy

In 2007, after decades of allowing most dairies in the Central Valley Region to operate without a water quality discharge permit, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a general, region-wide permit regulating wastewater discharges from existing diaries.  Environmental groups sued, claiming the permit’s protections for groundwater were inadequate.  The court of appeal … Continue Reading

90-Day Limitations Period Under Government Code § 65009 Applies to Zoning Administrator Decisions.

Round two of a citizen group’s challenge to approval of a WalMart ended with a decisive knock-out by the City of Stockton.  The appellate court ruled that the petitioners’ planning and zoning law claims were barred by the 90-day statute of limitations in Government Code § 65009, rejecting petitioners’ argument that the statute did not … Continue Reading

Court Rules City Council Can’t Skip CEQA By Adopting Voter-Proposed Legislation

Project proponents often ask whether there is a way to shortcut the CEQA timeline or head off litigation.  In Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court, the court of appeal squelched what had looked like a potential path around CEQA:  use of the initiative process to adopt voter-initiated legislation, without placing the legislation … Continue Reading

No Exception to the Exemption — Installation of Small Wireless Telecom Equipment on Existing Utility Poles Throughout City is Exempt from CEQA

After obtaining the necessary permit, T-Mobile installed wireless equipment on an existing utility pole in a residential neighborhood in San Francisco.  The installation was part of a larger project to install similar equipment on existing utility poles scattered throughout the city.  Residents living nearby sought to have the city’s decision to issue the permit overturned, … Continue Reading

Coastal Commission Steps Over the Line By Imposing Local Coastal Plan Amendment

In a jurisdictional dispute pitting the City of Malibu against a state conservancy and the California Coastal Commission, the court of appeal ruled the Commission lacked authority to disregard the city’s objections to an amendment to its Local Coastal Program.  While the Commission has the power to override a local agency’s objections to LCP amendments  … Continue Reading

Decision Exempting Modification of Judgment Imposing a Physical Solution to Water Rights Issues is Reinstated by California Supreme Court

As a result of a protracted adjudication over overdrafting of the 100,000-acre Los Angeles County West Coast Groundwater Basin, a stipulated judgment imposing a “physical solution” to reduce depletion of groundwater resources has regulated Basin water production and allocations since 1961.  The judgment does not, however, contain provisions governing water storage, so in 2009 Golden … Continue Reading