Administrative Agency Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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Fairfax Circuit Court Limits Homeowners’ Ability to Challenge Zoning Administrator

Contentious land use approvals often result in lawsuits, which, even when unsuccessful, can lead to costly delays for developers. In the recent case styled In Re: November 20, 2013 Decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals of...more

MassDEP Finalizes Underground Storage Tank Regulations

MassDEP’s new regulations governing Underground Storage Tanks (USTs) became effective January 2, 2015.  MassDEP took responsibility for USTs from the Department of Fire Services in 2009 and initially relied on existing...more

MEPA Climate Change Adaptation and Resiliency Policy Available for Public Comment

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) is accepting public comments on its proposed draft Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Climate Change Adaptation and Resiliency Policy...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - January 2015

Environmental and Policy Focus: U.S. Supreme Court keeps in place protections for California's delta smelt - The U.S. Supreme Court last week kept in place environmental orders in California that protect the...more

CT Law of the Land

Week of January 12 - On January 7, 2015, the Planning & Zoning Section of the Connecticut Bar Association met in Cromwell, CT with special guest Judge Marshall Berger. The main focus of the meeting was Practice Book...more

2015 Texas Legislative Session Includes Twin Bills Concerning Municipal Fracking Bans

With the opening of the 84th Session of the Texas Legislature on January 13, 2015, two of the more closely watched bills in the energy arena will be House Bill 539 (HB539) and House Bill 540 (HB540). HB539, filed on December...more

D.C. Circuit Rejects Psychological Harm Theory in Deer-Culling Case

This Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit issued an opinion in No. 13-5136, Grunewald v. Jarvis, affirming the lower court’s decision that the National Park Service’s promulgation of the White-Tailed Deer Management Plan was lawful. At...more

Summary of FERC Meeting Agenda - January 2015

Below are brief summaries of the agenda items for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s January 22, 2015 meeting, pursuant to the agenda as issued on January 15, 2015. Agenda items E-6 and E-19 have not been summarized...more

Albany County, NY Enacts Stringent Children’s Product Safety Law

Do local governments, such as town councils and county legislatures, have a role in regulating consumer products that is typically reserved for the federal and state governments? Apparently, the legislature and executive of...more

U.S. Supreme Court Holds in Favor of Cell Tower Siting Applicants

On January 14, the U.S. Supreme Court in T-Mobile South, LLC v. City of Roswell, held that the City of Roswell ("City") violated the Telecommunications Act of 1996, 47 U.S.C. § 332(c)(7)(B)(iii) (the "Telecommunications...more

Drone on Drones: Drone Zones

The policy debate over domestic use of drones is ongoing, and legal issues surrounding privacy are still being worked out. As 2015 begins, however, it seems appropriate to look forward to where drones may be going in the near...more

SB 4 Well Stimulation Treatment Permanent Regulations Finalized

On December 30, 2014, the California Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”) approved the Final Permanent Well Stimulation Treatment Regulations (“Permanent Regulations”). The regulations go into effect on July 1, 2015, and the...more

First District Publishes Decision Rejecting CEQA Challenges To Cal Fire’s Approval of Gualala Area Nonindustrial Timber Management...

In a decision filed December 2, and later ordered published on December 30, 2014, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the Mendocino County Superior Court’s judgment denying a petition for writ of mandate challenging a...more

District Court Limits Tiering of Biological Opinions

On December 5, 2014, a federal district court held that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) failed to comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when it relied entirely on existing programmatic biological opinions to...more

Fifth District Rejects CEQA Challenge to Fresno County Aggregate Mine Project EIR In Partially Published Decision, Clarifies State...

In a lengthy, 65-page opinion filed December 8, 2014 (of which fully two-thirds was unpublished), the Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed the Fresno County Superior Court’s judgment upholding the EIR, Conditional Use...more

Swing, Pendulum, Swing: California's Historic Drought and Unprecedented Responses

Most know by now that California is facing one of its driest years in recorded history. Yet droughts are not new to California, and to put things in context we can be thankful that current drought conditions are only as bad...more

National League of Cities Issues Report on the Sharing Economy

The National League of Cities has released a report on the current climate across the nation with regard to the “sharing economy” that may provide localities who are dealing with these issues potential templates to follow....more

May State and Local Governments Control Low-Flying Drones?

Most of the attention paid to drones has focused on issues of aviation and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authority. Yet much of the impact of low-flying drones will fall, not on the national air transportation system,...more

Current Water Utility CCN Decertification Issues At The Public Utility Commission Of Texas

The responsibility for the regulation of water and sewer service, including the oversight of certificates of public convenience and necessity (“CCNs”), was recently transferred from the Texas Commission on Environmental...more

CEQA Lead Agencies Do Not Waive Defense that CEQA Did Not Apply Despite Proceeding under CEQA

Recently, the court in Rominger v. County of Colusa found that a lead agency which approved a mitigated negative declaration for a project, can take the seemingly inconsistent position that the proposed project was not a...more

Real Estate and Land Use - November 2014

Change of Heart – Court of Appeal Reverses Opinion in Bowman v. California Coastal Commission - Why it matters: The court in Bowman originally held that a permit condition could not be modified or deleted by a second...more

Community Redevelopment Law Conflict-of-Interest Rules Apply to Successor Agencies

California Attorney General Weighs In on Rule That Will Impact Members of Successor Agencies’ Governing Boards and Employees - The California Attorney General recently opined that the conflict-of-interest rules under...more

Massachusetts Climate Adaptation Policy: How Broad Will It Be?

Yesterday, I suggested that Massachusetts EOEEA may not have authority to issue its “MEPA Climate Change Adaptation and Resiliency Policy.” However, since I also conceded that Massachusetts courts are unlikely to agree with...more

Summary of FERC Meeting Agenda - November 2014

In This Issue: - Administrative Items - Electric Items - Gas Items - Hydro Items - Excerpt from Hydro Items: H-1: Hydraco Power, Inc. and Warren David Long (Docket No. P-12588-010) - On...more

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Remedy for Unserved Notices of Violation

What happens when the City doesn’t properly serve a notice of building code violations? In the closing days of its September term, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed to decide that issue in Stone Street Partners, LLC v. City...more

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