Zoning, Planning & Land Use Constitutional Law

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Court Rejects Takings Challenge to City’s Imposition of $600,000 in Fees for 11-Unit Infill Project

On September 23, 2016, the Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District affirmed a trial court decision denying a petition for writ of mandate filed by a developer challenging various fees—totaling nearly $600,000—in...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

Ocean, NJ ordered to allow Yeshiva boarding school

In January of this year, Yeshiva Gedola Na’os Yaakov, Inc. (the “Yeshiva”) filed a 79-page complaint in federal court against the Township of Ocean, New Jersey, and the Township’s Zoning Board of Adjustment (the “Township)...more

Prevailing RLUIPA Defendant Denied Attorneys’ Fees

This summer, we reported that Genoa Charter Township prevailed in a lawsuit filed by Livingston Christian Schools (LSC), which claimed that the Township violated RLUIPA’s substantial burden provision, the First Amendment to...more

California Supreme Court Upholds Precondemnation Procedures

On July 21, 2016, the California Supreme Court in Property Reserve v. Superior Court upheld the state’s precondemnation entry and testing statutes provided they were reformed to allow impacted property owners the ability to...more

Constitutional Use of Toll Revenue the Subject of Recent Federal Court Decision

Public agencies with toll-setting authority should take note of a recent federal court decision relating to the uses of user fees and toll revenue, as well as the stated goals of the plaintiff in that case. The U.S....more

Georgia County Imposes Moratorium on Religious Uses

Newton County, Georgia has imposed a moratorium on religious uses following the planned construction of a mosque and cemetery. The Al Maad Al Islami Inc., a Doraville mosque, purchased 135 acres at the corner of 162 and...more

New Complaint Challenges Constitutionality of Connecticut Educational System

On August 23, 2016, four Connecticut parents, on behalf of themselves and their seven children, filed a 71-page complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut against Governor Dannel Malloy and...more

Judge, not Jury, Must Consider the Constitutionality of a Dedication Requirement and Whether it Qualifies as a "Project Effect"

One issue that can arise in eminent domain actions involving undeveloped (or under developed) property is whether the property being acquired is potentially subject to a dedication requirement. If the property’s overall...more

RLUIPA Defense/Rocky Mountain Sign Law Joint Blog Post: Pennsylvania Borough’s Church Directional Signs Did Not Violate the...

Late last month, a federal district court in Pennsylvania ruled that directional signs to a church, which contained images of a cross and bible, did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - August 2016 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - Lawmakers and Governor Brown claim major victory on climate change bills - Sacramento Bee - Aug 24 - California lawmakers on Wednesday advanced a pair of bills to sustain the...more

Municipal Condemnation of Privately Held Utilities Continues to be a Hot Issue, but at what Cost?

In January, I spoke at a conference in Austin about efforts by municipalities to condemn privately-held utility companies. At the time, I figured it would be a one-off presentation on a pretty niche issue, even for eminent...more

A Distinction without a Difference

On April 8, 2016, we posted a blog regarding the case of Quality Built Homes, Inc. v. Town of Carthage, ___N.C. App. ___, 766 S.E. 2d 897 (2015)(unpublished). In this case, the Court of Appeals had held that the Town of...more

Buddhist Meditation Center Sues Mobile, AL

The Thai Meditation Association of Alabama and several individual plaintiffs (the “Center”) have filed suit against the City of Mobile, Alabama, its  Planning Commission, and City Council (“Mobile”) after the Center was...more

California Supreme Court Salvages Precondemnation Entry Statute by Reforming to Include Right to Jury

It is not often that the California Supreme Court steps in to reform legislation that would otherwise be unconstitutional, but that’s what it did in Property Reserve, Inc. v. Superior Court (S.Ct. No. S217738), issued July...more

Greater Flexibility in Challenging Pipeline Takings

The standards contained in the Uniform Condemnation Procedures Act allow greater flexibility to trial judges when evaluating the necessity of a pipeline taking than other takings. Since initially writing this post, as a...more

Hundreds Erupt in Elation After Sterling Heights Mosque Denial

In the RLUIPA Round-Up post, we noted that the City of Sterling Heights, Michigan, is facing a federal lawsuit following its denial of the American Islamic Community Center’s (Center) zoning application to build a 20,500...more

How to Negotiate a Right of Entry After Property Reserve

Last month, the California Supreme Court’s decision in Property Reserve v. Superior Court provided long-awaited certainty for public agencies after a court of appeal determined the often-used “right of entry” statutes failed...more

Loophole Allowing Adverse Possession Claims Against Municiplalities Closed

New legislation has been enacted overruling the Waisanen v. Superior Township case that allowed adverse possession claims against municipal property owners. In this blog post, I described the decision in Waisanen v....more

Religious Institutions Update: August 2016

When was the last time your organization reviewed your insurance policies? Not all policies are equal. Many religious organizations are underinsured. Most should have general liability, property, professional liability,...more

In A Condemnation Case, The Judge – Not Jury – Decides If A Dedication Requirement Meets Constitutional Muster

In its second major eminent domain opinion in as many months, the California Supreme Court in City of Perris v. Richard C. Stamper (S.Ct. No. S213468), issued on August 15, 2016, deals with two issues: First, is it the role...more

Judge Should Consider Constitutionality of a Dedication Requirement, Not the Jury

Every year or so, a new appellate court decision comes out addressing the proper role of the judge versus the jury on some certain eminent domain issue. Most recently, a trial court, appellate court and the California Supreme...more

The Arbitrary and Capricious Standard Remains Deferential: The Corps’ Nationwide Permit 21 Survives Review

Late last week, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected challenges to the Army Corps’ Nationwide Permit 21, which allows small surface mining projects to proceed without individual permits under § 404. ...more

RLUIPA Round-Up

We noted in our previous post that the U.S. Department of Justice, in its latest report, has stated that one of the biggest trends in religious land use disputes since 2010 has been the drastic increase in disputes involving...more

California Federal Court: Is Leasing to a Church Religious Exercise?

The Scinto Foundation (Foundation) supports religious organizations “by having activities which are similar to [religious activities] and/or by giving them money, or donating services ….” The Foundation sued the City of...more

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