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Supreme Court Finally Schedules Oral Argument In CEQA Categorical Exemption Case

At long last, the California Supreme Court has scheduled oral argument in the case of Berkeley Hillside Preservation, et al. v. City of Berkeley, Supreme Court Case No. S201116. By its long-awaited order issued October 31,...more

California Cities and Counties Must Expedite Their Permitting Processes for Small Residential Rooftop Solar Systems by Sept. 30,...

Under AB 2188, recently signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, cities and counties must adopt ordinances, or amend their current ordinances, to create expedited, streamlined permitting processes for small rooftop solar energy systems....more

Fifth District Reaffirms Its CEQA Historicity Rules in Citizens for the Restoration of L Street v. City of Fresno

In a published opinion filed August 29, 2014, the Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed a judgment granting a writ of mandate and finding that the City of Fresno erred in approving a mitigated negative declaration (MND) for...more

Is It Historical Under CEQA? Court Confirms Substantial Evidence Remains the Standard

Citizens for the Restoration of L Street v. City of Fresno, et al., No. F066498,(Cal. Ct. App. 5th Dist., August 28, 2014) - In a two-part opinion, the Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment...more

Miami’s Future Archipelago of Floating Houses

A team of Dutch developers would like to bring a little bit of Atlantis to Miami. Earlier this month, Dutch Docklands submitted a letter of intent and request for zoning variance to the City of North Miami Beach in order to...more

Where Subdivision Access Is Uncertain, Approval of the Subdivision Must Be Contingent Upon Judicial Resolution

In the case of Shinn v. Bd. of Comm’rs of Clearwater Cnty., released June 17, 2014, the Idaho Supreme Court covered some new ground and revisited some old ground....more

UPDATE*: Understanding Philadelphia Zoning Law

Moving a project through the Philadelphia zoning process can seem like a daunting task – even after Philadelphia entirely revamped its zoning code. This article will familiarize applicants with the zoning process and help...more

Bowman v. California Coastal Commission: New California Court of Appeal Decision Holds that a Collateral Attack is no Substitute...

Sometimes in land use law, the most impactful court holdings come from the simplest of cases. That may be the situation with the new California Court of Appeal decision in Bowman v. California Coastal Commission, issued by...more

Philadelphia Creates Land Bank for City to Sell and Purchase Vacant Property

On January 13, 2014, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed into law Bill No. 130156-A, creating a municipal land bank for the city. With this law, Philadelphia became the largest U.S. city to adopt a land bank and joins...more

Mt. Holly Gardens files merits brief

Although settlement discussions are continuing, the respondents in Township of Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc., filed their merits brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on October 21. (The Township’s...more

Cities and Counties Must Provide Report Before Approving Economic Development Subsidies to Businesses

New Law Applies to Subsidies of $100,000 or More - Gov. Brown last week signed into law AB 562, legislation that will require all cities and counties to provide a report to the public before approving any economic...more

Massachusetts Smart Growth Zoning Reform Bill On Fast Track to Passage?

58 Legislators Pushing Comprehensive Zoning Reform Bill “Inclusionary Zoning” Provision May Expand Controversial 40B Law With “Smart Growth” advocates strongly behind them, a cadre of Beacon Hill lawmakers are pushing a...more

Warrantless Inspections are Not Warranted under the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently held that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) may not conduct a warrantless administrative inspection of a residential property subject to a Freshwater Wetlands...more

Hoku Lele, LLC v. City and County of Honolulu

Opinion of the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals

The Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals, in a unanimous panel opinion authored by Judge Foley, held that a "zoning verification" by the Director of the City and County's Department of Planning and Permitting is not a "action...more

The ASTM Standard Practice for Phase II Environmental Site Assessments

Originally published in the Environment Reporter, 43 ER 3080, 11/30/2012. Phase II Site Assessments - This article reviews the background of the revised Phase II Environmental Site Assessment Standard issued in...more

Supreme Court Case Involving CEQA’s “Unusual Circumstances” Exception to Categorical Exemptions Now Fully Briefed by Parties;...

The Respondent City of Berkeley and Real Parties (Kapors) filed their joint Reply Brief on the Merits in the California Supreme Court in a much-watched categorical exemption case, Berkeley Hillside Preservation, et al. v....more

U.S. Supreme Court Oral Arguments Set In Koontz v St John's River Water Management District for January 15, 2013

One month from now, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Case No. 11-1447, styled Coy A. Koontz, Jr., Petitioner v. St. Johns River Water Management District, Respondent (read the docket here). We've...more

City May Adopt Housing Element Revisions Inconsistent With General Plan If City Also Adopts Timeline To Correct Inconsistencies

Recently, the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Friends of Aviara v. City of Carlsbad affirmed the trial court’s judgment directing the City of Carlsbad to adopt a timeline for proposed changes to its general plan that would...more

California Foreclosure Update: New registration requirements for foreclosed properties may lead to penalties, fines for lenders

Originally published in Western Real Estate Business, October 2012. The economic downturn has resulted in a record number of foreclosures in California. Many property owners have simply abandoned these foreclosed...more

Resilient Masonry Buildings — Saving Lives, Livelihoods and the Livability of Oregon’s Historic Downtowns

Originally published in the Historic Preservation League of Oregon (“HPLO”) Special Report on October 25, 2012. The Purpose of the Preservation Roundtable; Why This Matters; Executive Summary; Background & Definition of...more

Local Government Economic Development Property Tax Exemptions

Over the last several years, county and city governments have looked anew at a more than 30-year-old provision in the Florida Constitution that permits using property tax exemptions as economic development tools. The Florida...more

How Much Uncertainty Does CEQA Allow? Court Upholds EIR's Practical Approach for Evaluating Uncertain Cumulative Impacts, but...

In Preserve Wild Santee v. City of Santee, the court immersed itself in an EIR’s evaluation of the impacts of a large residential project proposing 1,395 homes and 1,400 acres of open space preserve. The court upheld the...more

What you need to know today about Municipal Improvement Districts (Presentation)

In This Presentation: Municipal Improvements Act; The Governing Body and MID; Authorized Improvements; Common Questions; Criteria for the MID; Common Questions; and Boundary Issues. Excerpt from Municipal...more

Summary of HUD’s LEAN 232 Program E-mail Blast: Office of Residential Care Facilities (ORCF), August 29, 2012

In an effort to summarize the highlights of the LEAN E-mail Blasts that we receive, and rarely have time to review in a timely fashion, we at Pepper Hamilton are providing this quick synopsis of the latest LEAN update. Our...more

Are Courts Actively Limiting CEQA’s Scope In The Absence of Meaningful Legislative Reform?

Governor Jerry Brown was recently quoted in a Capitol Alert piece as calling legislative reform of CEQA “the Lord’s work” – hopefully he didn’t mean the quest for the Holy Grail – although he admitted in the same article he...more

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