Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use Commercial Real Estate

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Environmental issues written by leading professionals.
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Maryland Environmental Reporting Regulations On Hold For Now

Property owners and developers in Maryland have dodged another bullet, at least for now, with respect to their environmental reporting obligations. On October 31, 2014, the Maryland Department of Environment (“MDE”) proposed...more

EPA Proposes to Add Vapor Intrusion Pathway Assessment to Superfund Listing System

Last week, we wrote about an audit that MassDEP is conducting of previously closed sites to look for high concentrations of TCE in soils and groundwater. The intent of the audit is to address potential vapor intrusion. The...more

Eminent Domain: Be Careful What You Ask For

The condemnation of property for public works may not always be as clean and easy as the government would like. Although local governments are often critical players in the cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated...more

Updates to CEQA Guidelines for Transportation Impacts Analysis Under SB 743

On January 20, 2016, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (“OPR”) released a revised draft of thresholds for measuring transportation impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”). These draft...more

Real Estate and Land Use - January 2016

Using Project Objectives to Select a Reasonable Range of Alternatives - North Coast Rivers Alliance v. A.G. Kawamura (January 4, 2016) Third District Court of Appeal Case No. C072067 - Why It Matters: This opinion...more

Arizona Supreme Court Affirms ADWR’s Approval of Mining Company’s Request to Sever and Transfer Its Surface Water Rights

The Arizona Supreme Court, in Arizona Department of Water Resources v. Hon Crane McClennen in and for the county of Maricopa, No. CV-15-0223-SA, reversed a ruling from Judge McClennen of the Superior Court of Maricopa County...more

When CEQA Violations Are An Afterthought: Fourth District Upholds Trial Court’s Independent Judgment Determination That City Of...

CEQA and land use law in California go together like a hand in a glove. Due to CEQA’s broad scope and exacting substantive and procedural requirements, it is relatively easy to plead a cause of action for CEQA violations in...more

California Supreme Court Shifts Gears on “Reverse CEQA”

The California Supreme Court has shifted gears on so-called “reverse CEQA” under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”)....more

New regulations will oblige owners of buildings in Scotland to improve or report on energy efficiency of buildings

Section 63 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 provides for regulations to be made for: (1) the assessment of the energy performance of existing non-domestic buildings and greenhouse gas emissions from such buildings;...more

Department of the Interior Announces Comprehensive Review of Federal Coal Program

On January 15, Secretary Sally Jewell announced that the Department of the Interior will launch a comprehensive review to identify and evaluate potential reforms to the federal coal program. During the review, which is...more

US Suspends Coal Leasing on Federal Lands

Legal challenges to moratorium likely as US Department of Interior considers reforms. On Friday, January 15, 2016, US Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced that the US will “pause” federal coal...more

A Good Reminder: State and Federal Wildlife Laws Have Severe Penalties for Harm to Endangered Species

Welcome to the New Year! I have decided to declare 2016 to be the year of the endangered species. Why? We ended 2015 with a bang by seeing how serious the take prohibition in the California Fish and Game Code can be for fully...more

Energy and Environmental Forecast for 2016

When Robert Klee took over as Connecticut’s Commissioner of Energy and Environmental protection in 2014, he viewed his role as that of an implementer. As he indicated when he took over two years ago, it was his job to take...more

CEQA Doesn’t Operate in “Reverse” (Usually)

It’s not quite Star Wars, but in the world of land use, this counts as a blockbuster. The California Supreme Court has decided unanimously that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) generally does not require...more

The Carbon Challenge - How emission reduction schemes may affect property lenders

Commercial property is now subject to a range of EU-wide and UK domestic law aimed at reducing carbon emissions. These laws raise important questions for those lending against property....more

Worth the Wait? The California Supreme Court Rules that CEQA Does Not Require An Analysis of the Environment's Impacts on a...

On December 17, 2015, the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality Management District (No. S213478). The sole question before the Court...more

Real Estate and Land Use - December 2015

Not Your First Rodeo—CEQA Exemption for Rodeo Event Upheld - Citizens for Environmental Responsibility v. State of California - Why It Matters: The Third District Court of Appeal upheld the use of a categorical...more

California Supreme Court Rules Mitigation Measures Constitute Take of Fully Protected Species

On November 30, 2015, the California Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Center for Biological Diversity v. California Department of Fish & Wildlife, Case No. S217763 (Nov. 30, 2015). The decision comes at...more

Real Estate and Land Use - November 2015

CEQA Baseline Can Consider Historic Levels of Use - North County Advocates v. City of Carlsbad (2015)—Cal.App.4th—Case No. D066488: Why It Matters: This case addresses an important issue under CEQA relating to the...more

Administration Announces New Mitigation Policies

This afternoon, the Administration issued two policies intended to encourage private investment in natural resource conservation and to facilitate application of the mitigation hierarchy—avoiding, minimizing and compensating...more

Waste on land: a warning for landowners

Fly-tipping continues to cause problems for businesses, governments and communities. Defra recently assessed the number of fly-tipping incidents during 2014-2015 at around 900,000 in England alone.1 It comes as a surprise to...more

Changes in Environmental Due Diligence in Commercial Real Estate Prevent Toxic Investments

Financial due diligence in a commercial real estate purchase is a necessity, but equally important to purchasers and lenders is environmental due diligence. Many properties may have environmental issues from prior use, and...more

California Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Case Challenging 2010 Bay Area Air Quality Management District Air Quality...

On October 7, 2015, the California Supreme Court heard oral argument in California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Supreme Court Case No. S213478), a case which calls into question...more

Fourth District Addresses CEQA Baseline Issues In Partially Published Opinion Upholding EIR For Carlsbad Shopping Mall Renovation

In an opinion filed September 10, and later ordered partially published on October 9, 2015, the Court of Appeal affirmed the substance of a judgment upholding an EIR for a regional shopping center renovation project in...more

CEQA Guidelines Comments: Once In a Generation Chance

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) directs that certain proposed projects undergo environmental review to assess and mitigate significant environmental impacts. The CEQA Guidelines provide procedures and...more

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