Residential Real Estate Environmental Construction

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Affordable Housing Permit Revoked by Massachusetts Appeals Court

In a recent ruling sure to embolden municipalities seeking to block affordable housing projects, the Massachusetts Appeals Court revoked the approval of a Comprehensive Permit issued under the Anti-Snob Zoning Act, G.L....more

Berkeley Hillside CEQA Cat Ex Case Redux: Kapors Get Their Mansion, First District’s Belatedly Published Opinion Upholds City’s...

On remand following a landmark California Supreme Court decision, the First District Court of Appeal filed its opinion affirming the trial court’s judgment on September 23 and later ordered it published on October 15, 2015....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

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

Practical questions persist on zonal planning proposal

This month's Fixing the Foundations 'productivity plan' commits the government to 'an urban planning revolution on brownfield sites'. Ministers have already pledged to create a register of brownfield land suitable for...more

Owners and Developers Should Review Permits Now Before Time Runs Out

At the end of June, Governor Raimondo signed into law legislation that suspends the running and expiration of all development permits until June 30, 2016. This suspension further expands a permit toll that has been in place,...more

Ninth Circuit Holds Critical Habitat Designations Not Subject to Cost-Benefit Analysis

In Building Industry Association of the Bay Area v. U.S. Department of Commerce, a decision with significant implications for property owners, the building industry, and the development community at large, the U.S. Court of...more

CEQA Categorical Exemption Case Opinion Ordered Slightly Modified By Supreme Court; Berkeley Hillside Preservation Judgment Is...

On May 27, 2015, the California Supreme Court filed a 4-page order modifying portions of the majority and concurring opinions previously filed March 2, 2015, in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley (2015) 60...more

New Mandate: If you like your water heater you can keep it; but replacing it will be expensive.

Effective April 16, 2015, there will be significant changes to water heater energy factor requirements as the result of updates to the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (“NAECA”). The new requirements call for higher...more

Federal Government Takes First Steps to Impose Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing on Public Lands

On March 20, 2015, the Interior Department announced the issuance of a final rule regulating hydraulic fracturing on Federal and American Indian lands. The rule was initially proposed by the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”)...more

California Supreme Court Issues CEQA Ruling Regarding Categorical Exemptions - The Practical Result of the Court's Decision Is...

The California Supreme Court issued its opinion in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley (Case No. S201116), overturning the Court of Appeal and charting a course for the future application of categorical...more

California Supreme Court Construes CEQA’s “Unusual Circumstances” Exception to Categorical Exemptions in Berkeley Hillside...

In a 46-page majority opinion written by Justice Chin and joined by four other justices, punctuated by an 18-page concurring opinion (by Justice Liu, joined by Justice Werdegar) which reads like a dissent, the California...more

Big House CEQA Exemption on Firm Foundation

The Berkeley Hillside Preservation association wasn’t thrilled with a new neighbor’s plans to demolish an existing house and build a 6,478-square-foot house with an attached 3,394-square-foot 10-car garage on a slope in the...more

California Supreme Court Establishes the Standard of Review for the Unusual Circumstances Exception to CEQA Categorical Exemptions...

Breathing life into the use of CEQA categorical exemptions, on March 2, 2015, the California Supreme Court held that a reasonable possibility that a project may result in significant effects on the environment alone is not...more

Developer Catches a Break in California Supreme Court CEQA Ruling

In Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley, No. S201116 (Cal. Mar. 2, 2015) (slip op), the California Supreme Court overturned an appeals court ruling that banned developers from using an exemption under the...more

California Supreme Court’s CEQA Ruling Reaches Beyond Residential Development

On Monday March 2, the California Supreme Court handed down a decision allowing a Berkeley home builder to use an exemption from detailed environmental assessment under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) in its...more

CA Supreme Court Provides Key CEQA Guidance Regarding Categorical Exemptions

The California Supreme Court issued a long-awaited ruling regarding categorical exemptions under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reversing a court of appeal decision that would have sharply curtailed the use...more

California Supreme Court Upholds Most Commonly Used CEQA Categorical Exemptions

The California Supreme Court has issued its long-awaited decision in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley, No. S201116 (March 2, 2015). The Court’s decision clears up some of the ambiguity that surrounded the...more

Land Subsidence Damage Caused by Groundwater Withdrawals in Arizona: Who Pays?

Land subsidence is a problem that affects many areas of the world, with well-publicized case studies in Mexico City, Tokyo, and certain areas within California and Arizona. ...more

How to Speak Storm Water in 2015: Terminology from the New Industrial General Storm Water Permit

As my colleague Missy Foster recently reported, the deadline for compliance with California’s new Industrial Storm Water permit (2014 Permit) is fast approaching. There is a lot to learn about the 2014 Permit before it takes...more

ULI Releases Report on Risks of Urban Flooding

The Boston/New England chapter of the Urban Land Institute (“ULI”) has released a report exploring design, policy and risk management strategies to help Boston and nearby cities such as Cambridge and Revere prepare for...more

Renewable Energy Update -- October 2014 #3

Renewable Energy Focus - Geothermal power industry lost steam but may be poised for comeback: Los Angeles Times - Oct 19: Geothermal power was once king of California's renewable energy. So many companies were...more

FHA Multifamily Rental Project Closing Document Revisions

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released revised closing documents that must be used for all transactions with a commitment issued after August 10, 2014. HUD has instituted a grace period in...more

Dealing With NIMBYs in Local Land Use and Environmental Approval

A developer or property owner may have a permit application for a project that meets the criteria for the applicable regulations, and might receive approval from local government or environmental staff. At that point, the...more

California Urban Housing Market Plagued by Higher Rents, Lower Wages, and CEQA

The economic and social impacts of the California Environmental Quality Act are significant enough that the worldwide publication, The Economist, recently reported that the law’s liberal standing requirements “allow[ing]...more

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