Residential Real Estate Environmental Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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Take That! Second District Court of Appeal Clears Major Hurdles for Newhall Ranch Project, Provides Guidance on California’s...

California’s Second District Court of Appeal, Division Five, issued a decision on March 20 in Center for Biological Diversity v. Department of Fish & Wildlife (Case No. BS131347), overturning the trial court’s decision...more

Ruling May Put The Brakes On Some CEQA Investigations

For years, public agencies have utilized a statutory "right-of-entry" procedure to gain access to private property to conduct investigations and testing before deciding whether to move forward with a condemnation action....more

Bowman v. California Coastal Commission: New California Court of Appeal Decision Holds that a Collateral Attack is no Substitute...

Sometimes in land use law, the most impactful court holdings come from the simplest of cases. That may be the situation with the new California Court of Appeal decision in Bowman v. California Coastal Commission, issued by...more

Court Rejects Statute Allowing Court Ordered Entry Onto Private Property by Public Agencies for Pre-Acquisition Testing

California Eminent Domain Law allows public agencies to obtain a court order permitting access onto private property to conduct pre-acquisition testing and inspections. These tests and inspections can help an agency...more

2 and 1/2 Strikes and the NGOs May Be Out: EPA Refuses to Exercise Residual Designation Authority

Stormwater regulation is a thorny issue. There is widespread agreement that nutrient run-off can be a significant problem, but little agreement on what to do about it, since stormwater infrastructure is normally managed by...more

Green Law Corner: What LEED v4 Means for You

In late 2013, the U.S. Green Building Council released its latest version of LEED, Version 4. Most of you have certainly heard of LEED but you may not know what LEED really means. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and...more

Legal Alert: Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States: Supreme Court Opens the Door to Potential Fifth Amendment Takings...

In what is commonly known as a rails-to-trails case, the U.S. Supreme Court held on March 10, 2014, in an eight-to-one decision, that certain railroad rights-of-way revert to private property owners following the railroad’s...more

Tower Lane Properties v. City of Los Angeles: JMBM Prevails in Published Court of Appeal Opinion Holding that a City's Erroneous...

JMBM has prevailed in the Court of Appeal on behalf of its client in a well-publicized and hotly-contested development project in the City of Los Angeles. The court's published opinion will come as welcome relief to property...more

Massachusetts Supreme Court Endorses Broad Regulatory Authority Under The Massachusetts Endangered Species Act

On February 18, 2014, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued a decision in Pepin v. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife that upheld the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s ( “DFW’s”) regulatory scheme...more

New York Landowners Sue Governor Cuomo Over Fracking Review

A large group of New York property owners have filed suit against Governor Andrew Cuomo, demanding that the state concludes its five-year-long assessment of whether to allow high-volume hydraulic fracturing. The group, called...more

New Law Grants Two-Year Extension to Remedial Investigation Deadline for Qualifying Parties

This is an important legal development for any company that is cleaning up an old contaminated site in New Jersey and requires more time to complete the remedial investigation. ...more

CEQA Reform: In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb

The past legislative session held the prospect for significant reform of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). After the dust settled though, the only proposal able to survive the legislative gauntlet was one...more

The New Environmental Due Diligence Standard Saga Continues

To supplement our prior blog posts with respect to this issue, on December 30, 2013, the USEPA published a final rule (“Final Rule”) adopting the ASTM E1527-13 Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments, Phase I...more

“Spot Zoning” Found Permissible Where Small Parcel Given Greater Rights than Surrounding Properties and New Zoning Served the...

The Orange County Board of Supervisors (“Board”) approved a proposed senior citizen living community (“Project”) on a seven-acre parcel, creating a new zoning definition for senior residential housing and rezoning the parcel...more

LEED Silver Requirement To Be Introduced in Montgomery County

On January 21, Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner will introduce 13 legislative initiatives to increase the County's commitment, in the public and private sector, to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent...more

Contaminated but Remediated Soil and Cortese Listing Does Not Compel Preparation of EIR

As 2013 came to a close, the California court of appeal in Parker Shattuck Neighbors v. Berkeley City Council (1st Dist., Div. 4, 12/30/13, A136873) ___Cal.App.1st___, 2013, upheld the City of Berkeley’s decision not to...more

CEQA-In-Reverse Case Opening Brief Filed In California Supreme Court

The California Building Industry Association (CBIA) laid out its case that CEQA contains no general directive requiring analysis of the existing environment’s impacts on a future project in a 50-page opening brief filed in...more

US EPA Approves New Standard for Conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessments

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued its final rule amending the standards and practices for conducting environmental "all appropriate inquiries" to include a new standard recently made...more

U.S. EPA Approves ASTM E1527-13 for Application to the All Appropriate Inquiry Rule

Effective December 30, 2013, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has amended its “All Appropriate Inquiries” Rule (AAI Rule) to reference the recently published American Society for Testing and Materials...more

Vapor Intrusion Risk Insufficient to Trigger EIR for Urban Infill Project

In Parker Shattuck Neighbors, et al. v. Berkeley City Council, et. al. (First Appellate District, December 30, 2013) (“Shattuck Neighbors”), the court upheld the City of Berkeley’s approval of a mitigated negative declaration...more

EPA Adds An Additional ASTM International Standard To “All Appropriate Inquiry” For Environmental Assessments

As stated in the Federal Register, effective December 30, 2013, the “All Appropriate Inquiry Rule,” found at 40 CFR Part 312.11 was amended to add as paragraph (c)- a reference to ASTM International’s E1527-13 “Standard...more

Revised Phase I Environmental Assessment Standard Issued

On November 6, 2013, ASTM International issued its revised Phase I Environmental Assessment Standard, E1527-13, “Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process.” Perhaps...more

EPA Approves New Assessment Standards For CERCLA Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser Defense

On December 30, 2013, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule relating to the bona fide prospective purchaser defense to CERCLA. EPA has authorized prospective purchasers of real estate to...more

First District “Doubts” CEQA Operates In Reverse, Upholds Mitigated Negative Declaration For Urban Infill Project Despite Soil and...

In an opinion recently ordered published, the First District Court of Appeal extensively reviewed the relevant case law and expressed skepticism that CEQA would operate in reverse to require analysis of potential impacts on a...more

Substantial Evidence Test Applies to Decision Not to Require Additional EIR

In Latinos Unidos de Napa v. City of Napa (1st Dist., Div. 1, 10/10/13, A134959), ___ Cal.App.4th ___, 2013, the court of appeal found no abuse of discretion in the City of Napa’s approval of revisions to the housing element...more

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