Zoning, Planning & Land Use Updates

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My Project Changed—Is My EIR Still Valid: A New California Supreme Court Case Provides Guidance

Change is inevitable. Many times between project approval and project construction fluctuations in market conditions, financing terms or other factors mandate project changes. Do the changes require a further or modified...more

Damages for Seller’s Breach of a Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement: a Recent Case Example

When a seller breaches a purchase and sale agreement and fails to complete the sale to the buyer, the buyer’s usual remedy is to seek “specific performance” of the agreement — i.e., a court judgment ordering the seller to...more

California Supreme Court Rejects "New Project" Test for Modifications to Previously Approved Projects

On September 19, 2016, the California Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo Community College District (Case No. S214061). The Supreme Court held that...more

“New and Improved” is Not Always a Good Slogan Under CEQA

Marketing departments in major corporations love to describe products as “new and improved” in order to convince you that the product is something you need. In many cases though, you already have the product; the new and...more

CEQA Allows Developers to Recover Administrative Record Costs when Reimbursing Agency

Appellate Victory for Developers and Public Agencies - A developer can recover the cost of preparing a California Environmental Quality Act administrative record, even when the lead agency, not the developer, actually...more

The North Carolina Landowner Protection Act: Encouraging Access for Hunters, Trappers, and Other Outdoor Enthusiasts

If you are a private landowner in North Carolina, you may not be aware that you owe a certain duty of care not only to people who have permission to be on your property, but also to those who do not, and that your duty to...more

Federal Legislation Expected on Sober Living Homes

Sober living homes offer drug- and alcohol-free, cooperative living arrangements for people in the process of recovery from addiction. Rapid growth within the sector as well as increased media attention due to some recurring...more

Supreme Court Addresses CEQA Subsequent Review Rules in San Mateo Gardens Case

The California Supreme Court provided needed clarification to some aspects of the operation of CEQA’s “subsequent review” rules (Pub. Resources Code, § 21166; CEQA Guidelines, § 15162) in its highly anticipated opinion, filed...more

BLM Moves Forward with Phase I of Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan

Phase I of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) has now been approved, paving the way for streamlined permitting and environmental review of qualified renewable energy projects on Bureau of Land Management...more

Kentmere Nursing Home Pursues Safety and Parking Upgrades Over Objections

The Kentmere Nursing Home located at Lovering Avenue and Lincoln Street plans to alleviate the shortage of on-street parking in the neighborhood by adding an additional 11 off-street spaces as well as an ambulance bay. ...more

RLUIPA Case of the Year? Minnesota Municipality Uses RLUIPA’s Safe Harbor Provision to Avoid Liability

In an important decision for municipalities across the country, a federal court in Minnesota has recently ruled that actions taken under RLUIPA’s “safe harbor” provision absolved a local government of possible RLUIPA...more

Developer Awarded Cost of Preparing Administrative Record in CEQA Lawsuit

Lawsuits under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) typically proceed as petitions for administrative mandamus. This means the petitioner is asking the court to review an agency’s decision and ultimately issue a...more

California Supreme Court Addresses Subsequent Review Under CEQA; Rejects Lishman “New Project” Test

In an opinion by Justice Kruger, the Supreme Court of California unanimously reversed the Court of Appeal in Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District, Cal. Supreme Court, Case...more

California Supreme Court Invalidates "New Project" Test - Court Upholds Use of Addendum to Mitigated Negative Declaration Under...

In a major win for agencies and project sponsors, the Supreme Court of California affirmed that addenda can appropriately be used to consider modifications to a previously approved negative declaration or Environmental Impact...more

Texas Supreme Court Affirms Property Owners' Rights Within the Extraterritorial Jurisdiction

On May 27, 2016, in Town of Lakewood Village v. Bizios, the Texas Supreme Court held that general law municipalities do not have the authority to enforce building codes within their extraterritorial jurisdictions (ETJs). This...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Threatened Status for San Fernando Valley Spineflower

On September 15, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposed to list as threatened the San Fernando Valley spineflower (Chorizanthe parryi var. fernandina), a plant species native to Southern California, under...more

National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Propose Listing One Hawaiian Species and Four Marine Species

On September 19, 2016, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) published proposed rules to list two species of dolphin and two species of guitarfish under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). NMFS proposes to list the...more

California Supreme Court Rejects “New Project” Argument

Friends of the College of San Mateo Gardens v. San Mateo County Community College District (No. S214061, September 19, 2016) - Why It Matters: As land developers and investors know all too well, so-called...more

Statute of Limitations for Actions to Remove Encroachments from Easements Returned to 20 Years

In 2007, the North Carolina Court of Appeals held in Pottle v. Link, 187 N.C. App. 746, 654 S.E.2d 64 (2007), that actions to remove encroachments from an easement must be brought within six years of the encroachment being...more

Neither CEQA Administrative Record Preparation Statute nor Case Law Precludes Award of Costs to Prevailing Real Party who...

In the published portion of an opinion filed September 12, 2016, the Fifth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order taxing costs in the amount of $44,889.71 which were claimed by prevailing real party in...more

Alberta’s “30 by 30” Renewable Energy Target: Will Wind Energy Projects Now Be Permitted on Public Lands?

On September 14, 2016, the Alberta government provided an update regarding its Renewable Electricity Program. In particular, the government confirmed a firm target of 30 per cent electricity from renewable sources by 2030 (30...more

Developers Who Elect Not to Pay Comprehensive Permit Fees in Full Proceed at Their Peril

The Massachusetts Appeals Court issued an opinion on August 29, 2016, that has significant ramifications for developers seeking Comprehensive Permits for affordable housing projects under chapter 40B of the Massachusetts...more

First District Modifies “Reverse CEQA” Case Opinion, Denies BAAQMD’s Petition For Rehearing With No Change In Judgment

On September 9, 2016, the First District Court of Appeal (Division 5) filed an “Order Modifying Opinion and Denying Rehearing [No Change In Judgment]” in California Building Industry Association v. Bay Area Air Quality...more

Proposed Workforce Housing Ordinance Could Significantly Impact Residential Development in Miami-Dade County

County Commissioner Barbara Jordan has proposed a workforce housing ordinance (Ordinance) which would require developers to provide workforce housing in association with residential development projects within Miami-Dade...more

Ohio Supreme Court Decides Dormant Mineral Act Cases

On September 15, 2016 the Ohio Supreme Court issued three opinions providing long-awaited clarity to Ohio’s Dormant Mineral Act (“ODMA” or “Act”). Most notably, the court ruled that the 1989 ODMA did not automatically allow...more

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