Civil Procedure Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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California Environmental Law & Policy Update - April 2015 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Army Corps jurisdictional determinations subject to pre-permit judicial review, Eighth Circuit says - Allen Matkins - Apr 13: EPA and Army Corps of Engineers imposition of federal...more

Finality! Common Sense Prevails Over Wetlands Jurisdictional Determinations

“All good things come to those who wait,” certainly is not an expression that applies to property owners who receive wetlands jurisdictional determinations (JD) from the Army Corps of Engineers with which they disagree. ...more

Mello-Roos May Be Used to Fund Condemnation Action of Private Utility Provider

Those of us living in newer neighborhoods are familiar with Mello-Roos – it shows up on our annual tax bills as a way to pay off bonds issued to finance various public improvements, such as schools, streets, and parks that...more

Zoning Deficiencies Not Cured by Existing Structures Exception for ANR Plans

Dividing up the “traditional New England family compound” has a host of societal implications and land use complications that were on display in the Supreme Judicial Court’s recent decision in Palitz v. Zoning Board of...more

Copyright in Survey Plans

As a follow-up to our earlier post about Copyright in House Plans, an class action case is proceeding in Ontario on the subject of ownership of copyright in survey plans. In the course of their work, land surveyors in Ontario...more

Troubles for Town’s Wind Turbine

In the long-running dispute between the Town of Falmouth and the neighbors to the Town’s wind turbine that powers the municipal wastewater treatment facility (WWTF), score one for the neighbors. ...more

Is Your Business a “Nuisance”? If so, It Could Cost You Dearly

Many landlords and businesses are already aware that they may be sued in a civil court for criminal acts committed by others on their property. While this is a reactive process that occurs in response to a specific incident,...more

Vineyard's Attorney Fees Claim Turns Into Sour Grapes

In Belle Terre Ranch Inc. v. Wilson, 2015 DJDAR 506, the California Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District decided an agricultural trespass action involving an attorney fees claim....more

Eighth Circuit Creates Circuit Split By Holding Jurisdictional Determinations Under The Clean Water Act Constitute "Final Agency...

On April 10, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that the issuance of a jurisdictional determination (JD) by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) pursuant to the Clean Water Act (CWA)...more

In re Murray Energy - the First Clean Power Plan Donnybrook

Friday morning found us at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse in Washington, hoping to take in the oral argument before the DC Circuit in the first (of what is certain to be many) challenge to the Clean Power Plan: In re...more

Virginia Supreme Court Opinions Affecting Local Government Law – April 16, 2015

The Virginia Supreme Court issued opinions this morning during its April term. This term resulted in several opinions affecting Virginia local government law. Opinions addressed evidence in a condemnation case, interpreted...more

Landowners, Developers Win Big In Wetlands Case

Building on a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision, the Eighth Circuit ruled on April 10th that Clean Water Act jurisdictional determinations made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can be challenged in a “pre-enforcement”...more

Non-Settling CERCLA Defendants Beware: Ninth Circuit Provides Lower Courts with Discretion to Allocate Liability Using Equitable...

There is a split of authority on how credits for settlements under the Comprehensive Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) are allocated to non-settlors. Some courts have applied the proportionate share...more

Duty to Consult Not Triggered for Exploration Dispositions: Saskatchewan Court of Appeal

The grant of exploration dispositions for oil sands located beneath treaty lands did not trigger the Crown’s duty to consult, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal held recently in Buffalo River Dene Nation v Ministry of Energy...more

Winners Beware – Fourth District Upholds Trial Court’s Discretion To Drastically Reduce Successful CEQA Plaintiff’s Fees In...

In an opinion filed March 18 and belatedly ordered published on April 13, 2015, the Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld a trial court’s discretion to award only $19,176 in attorneys’ fees under Code of Civil Procedure §...more

Suit by “Interested,” Neighboring Municipalities to Enforce SEQRA Requirements Does Not “Impose or Implement” a Land Use...

On March 27, 2015, the Southern District of New York granted summary judgment in favor of all defendants in the consolidated action Bernstein v. Wesley Hills, 08-CV-156; 12-CV-8856 (KMK), (the “Wesley Hills” Action). The...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: Fifth Circuit Holds the Word “Replace” in Easement Grant is Ambiguous

Neither the courts of Texas nor Louisiana have directly addressed the meaning of the word “replace” in the context of a pipeline easement and, in particular, whether replacement requires the removal of the old pipeline or...more

Army Corps Jurisdictional Determinations Subject to Pre-Permit Judicial Review, Eighth Circuit Says

EPA and Army Corps of Engineers imposition of federal Clean Water Act requirements can now be challenged in court without waiting for the agencies to bring an enforcement action, at least in the Eighth Circuit. On April 10,...more

Federal Court Strikes Down HCP: No Piggybacks Under Section 10

While decisions dealing with lawsuits alleging violations of section 7 or section 9 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are rather common, it is far less common for courts to address suits under section 10. In fact, in any...more

Citadel Drops Lawsuit Against San Benito Fracking Ban

On Friday, April 3, Citadel Exploration filed a request for dismissal in its suit against San Benito County’s Measure J.  Measure J was passed in the November 2014 election and is a ban on high-intensity petroleum operations,...more

Court Finds Muslim Group Lacks Property Interest and Tosses RLUIPA Suit; Pittsfield Charter Township Wins

A federal court in Michigan has ruled against a Muslim group in its RLUIPA suit against Pittsfield Charter Township after finding that the group lacked a legally cognizable property interest to sustain its claims. To...more

Maryland Appellate Court: County Stormwater Permit Violates CWA and State Law - Ruling Throws into Question Numerous State-Issued...

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals (CSA) issued a significant decision in Maryland Department of the Environment, et al. v. Anacostia Riverkeeper, et al., holding that the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Permit (MS4) issued...more

Aboriginal Heritage Update: Supreme Court Clarifies Meaning Of 'Sacred Site' In Western Australia

In Robinson v Fielding [2015] WASC 108 the Supreme Court of Western Australia determined that the Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee, the body charged with evaluating the importance of places and objects for the purposes...more

Second District Holds First Tier CEQA Analysis Suffices For Regional Board’s Setting of Novel TMDL For Lake Bed Sediment

In a short published opinion, the Second District Court of Appeal rejected federal Clean Water Act, state Porter Cologne Water Quality Control Act, and CEQA challenges to a regional board’s Basin Plan Amendment establishing a...more

N.C. Court of Appeals Rules That Contractual Forum Selection Clause Can Track, But Not Vary, Legislatively-Determined Forum

The North Carolina Court of Appeals handed down a decision today that clarifies the rule that a contractual venue/forum selection provision can track, but it cannot vary from, the venue/forum determined by State law....more

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