Category: Public Agencies

Subscribe to Public Agencies RSS Feed

New Ethics and Campaign Contribution Rules Enacted in San Francisco

San Francisco voters enacted a measure, Proposition T, that makes significant changes to the city’s rules governing gifts and campaign contributions to city officers, elected officials and candidates. As the City of San Francisco broadly defines the term “lobbyist” to include individuals and companies that spend to encourage the public to communicate with city officials, … Continue Reading

Public Employees’ Personal E-mail and Text Messages May be Subject to Disclosure under the Public Records Act

The California Supreme Court has held that information relevant to public business contained in emails or text messages stored on private electronic devices of government officials is subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act. City of San Jose v. Superior Court (Smith), No. S218066 (Calif. Supreme Court, March 3, 2017). The California Public Records … Continue Reading

City Council Can Sponsor Ballot Measure To Repeal Prior Initiative That Restricts Council Action

Elections Code section 9222 allows a city council to propose a ballot measure that repeals or amends a prior initiative. In Brookside Investment, Ltd. v. City of El Monte (2d. Dist. No. B267081, Nov. 15, 2016) the court held that section 9222 does not unconstitutionally interfere with the voters’ reserved power of initiative, even when … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Reforms Precondemnation Entry and Testing Statutes to Allow for Jury Determination of Damages

In Property Reserve v. Superior Court, S217738 (Cal. Supreme Court, July 21, 2016) the Supreme Court of California held that the precondemnation entry and testing statutes are constitutional when reformed to permit affected property owners the right to have a jury determine damages. The California Department of Water Resources sought a court order allowing it … Continue Reading

Neighbors’ Personal Stake In Preserving Local Parking Regulations Precluded Finding Of Public Interest

Neighbors who were suing to maintain existing neighborhood parking regulations were pursuing their own personal interests and did not qualify for the public interest exception from the anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) statute. Because their Brown Act claim had no merit, it was properly dismissed as an anti-SLAPP suit. Cruz v. City of Culver … Continue Reading

Loss of View is Not a Taking, Even in Beverly Hills

The mere loss of a homeowners’ unobstructed view, without any physical intrusion onto their properties, does not constitute a compensable taking. Boxer v. City of Beverly Hills, 246 Cal. App. 4th 1212 (2016). In 1989, the City planted 31 coastal redwood trees in a park adjacent to Spalding Drive in Beverly Hills. In 2005, nearby … Continue Reading

Inadvertent Disclosure of Documents Under the Public Records Act Does Not Waive the Attorney-Client Privilege

The California Supreme Court has resolved a significant split among California appellate courts regarding whether inadvertent disclosure of documents in response to a Public Records Act request results in waiver of the attorney-client privilege pursuant to section 6254.5 of the Act. The court held that this waiver provision applies only to intentional release of a … Continue Reading

Court Rebuffs CEQA Challenge to Subway Tunnel Under Beverly Hills High

Beverly Hills and its school district have failed to persuade the court of appeal to block construction of a subway line beneath Beverly Hills High School. Beverly Hills Unified School District v. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 241 Cal. App. 4th 627 (2015). The court upheld the CEQA analysis for the project against claims … Continue Reading

A State Agency’s Duty To Mitigate Significant Environmental Impacts Does Not Depend On A Legislative Appropriation Of Funds For Mitigation

The California State University system may not condition its funding of mitigation for off-site impacts of a campus expansion project on receipt of a legislative appropriation earmarked for that purpose, according to a decision issued yesterday by the California Supreme Court. City of San Diego v Board of Trustees of the California State University, No. … 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

EIR Comments Should Improve The Environmental Review Process, Not Derail It

CEQA guidelines require only that a lead agency give detailed responses to comments that identify an important new matter not discussed in the draft environmental impact report or raise questions about a significant environmental issue, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled, allowing Orange County to proceed with a long-considered expansion of a county jail. City … 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

“True Lease” Required for Lease-Leaseback Exemption from Public Bidding

In a decision that may imperil many pending school construction transactions, the Fifth District Court of Appeal has held that, to qualify for exemption from public bidding, a lease-leaseback transaction must include “a financing component” and a “genuine lease” that provides for school district use of the facilities during the lease term. Davis v. Fresno … Continue Reading

Mello-Roos Financing May Be Used to Acquire a Private Water Utility Through Eminent Domain.

An agency may acquire the assets of a private utility through condemnation using Mello-Roos bond financing, including intangible property incidental to the real or tangible property being acquired. Golden State Water Co. v. Casitas Municipal Water District, 235 Cal. App. 4th 256 (2015). Upon petition by the City of Ojai, the Casitas Municipal Water District … Continue Reading

Court Blocks Opponents’ Shot at Halting New Kings Arena

The court of appeal recently upheld legislation modifying several deadlines for CEQA review of a project that includes a proposed new arena for the Sacramento Kings, rejecting a claim the statute violates separation of powers.  Saltonstall v. City of Sacramento, No. C077031 (3d Dist., Nov. 20, 2014). In 2013, the National Basketball Association approved the … 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

Court Reaffirms City’s Discretion to Identify Local Historic Resources

In Citizens for Restoration of L Street v. City of Fresno, an appellate court affirmed that the substantial evidence test, not the fair argument test, governs an agency’s determination whether buildings or districts should be treated as historical resources under CEQA. Background This case concerned a proposed residential infill development project in the City of … 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

CEQA Lawsuit Fails to Slow High-Speed Rail

Several parties, including the San Francisco Peninsula communities of Atherton, Menlo Park, and Palo Alto, challenged the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s decision on where to route trains travelling between the Central Valley and the Bay Area.  The court of appeal recently upheld the Authority’s program EIR for the routing, but rejected the Authority’s argument that … Continue Reading

Department of Water Resources Must File Condemnation Case Before Undertaking Geological and Environmental Testing on Private Property

In Property Reserve, Inc. v. Super. Ct. of San Joaquin County, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled that if the State intends to acquire an interest in private property directly, “no matter how small an interest, the California Constitution requires it to initiate a condemnation suit that provides the affected landowner with all of … 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
LexBlog