Transportation Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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Level of Detail Adequate in High Speed Rail Authority’s Program EIR for Central Valley to Bay Area Rail Corridor

Town of Atherton v. California High-Speed Rail Authority (7/24/14, C070877) - The appellate court upheld the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s Program EIR for the Central Valley to Bay Area portion of the route,...more

Real Estate and Land Use - Sep 2014

Evidence of Economic Infeasibility of CEQA Alternatives Explained (SPRAWLDEF v. San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission) - Why it matters: In upholding the approval of a 260-acre expansion to the...more

OPR Speaks to the Impact of Proposed New CEQA Guidelines

As discussed by the California Planning and Development Report, Chris Calfee, counsel at the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research, has indicated that lead agencies will no longer be able to use General Plan congestion...more

Six Regional Projects Awarded Federal Funding

Good news California: local projects are continuing to receive federal funding. Caltrans announced last week that the U.S. Department of Transportation has granted nearly $35 million in TIGER funds to six local and regional...more

Federal Highway Administration Publishes New Rule for Value Engineering

On Friday, September 5, 2014, the Federal Highway Administration (“FHWA”) published its final rule for Value Engineering (“VE”) for road and bridge projects. The new rule implements changes made to VE requirements under...more

Texas Railroad Commission Proposes Regulation to Address Earthquake Risks from Disposal Wells

In the August 29, 2014 issue of the Texas Register (39 Tex. Reg. 6775), the Railroad Commission of Texas proposed several amendments to the regulations governing saltwater and other oil and gas waste disposal (SWD) wells (16...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - August 2014 #7

Environmental and Policy Focus - Former inspector calls for state's last nuclear plant to be closed: Los Angeles Times - Aug 25 -- A former federal inspector has urged regulators to shut down California's last...more

An Update of Flow Control Jurisprudence since United Haulers

Since United Haulers Association v. Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority, 550 U.S. 330, 344 (2007), most courts have upheld local flow control ordinances as constitutional under that holding. ...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - August 2014 #5

Environmental and Policy Focus: The California Supreme Court further limits the scope of CEQA review for voter-sponsored initiatives: Allen Matkins - Aug 11: Voter-driven initiatives meeting California Elections Code...more

OPR Proposes to Increase CEQA’s Costs, Complexity, and Litigation Risks with SB 743 Implementation

On August 6, 2014, the Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) issued proposed revisions to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines implementing SB 743 – the Sacramento Kings arena bill – carried...more

Draft CEQA Guidelines Would Dramatically Alter Analysis of Transportation Impacts Under SB 743

On August 6, 2014, the California Office of Planning and Research issued a new draft guideline that could fundamentally alter the way in which transportation impacts are analyzed for purposes of review under the California...more

Full Steam Ahead for Eminent Domain Actions after High Speed Rail Authority Negotiations End in Impasse

The State Public Works Board (the “Board”) adopted four Resolutions of Necessity approving the High-Speed Rail Authority’s (the “Authority”) use of eminent domain for public necessity to acquire four parcels in Fresno and...more

California Development: Proposed Amendments to CEQA Guidelines Significantly Change Transportation Analyses

Developers of infill projects could face additional uncertainty and legal vulnerability under new requirements to analyze impacts on transportation. On August 6, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR)...more

CEQA Alert: The End of Level of Service (“LOS”) Analysis? OPR Proposes New Guidelines for Evaluating Transportation Impacts

On August 6, 2014, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) released its preliminary recommendations for changing how transportation impacts are analyzed under CEQA: Updating Transportation Impacts Analysis in the...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - August 2014 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - Governor proposes $6 billion water bond for California: Bloomberg - Aug 6: California Governor Jerry Brown has called on lawmakers to put a $6 billion “no-frills” bond measure on the...more

It’s Really Difficult to Site a Highway in a Refuge

In an important decision last week, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals made clear just how high the hurdles are in the way of building highways in wildlife refuges. The decision in Defenders of Wildlife v. North Carolina DOT...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - August 2014 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus - Appellate court upholds environmental work for high-speed rail via Pacheco Pass: Fresno Bee - Jul 24 -- State appeals justices on Thursday upheld a lower court's approval of an...more

Kern County’s CEQA Mitigation Measure For Wind Farm Project Relying On FAA Review and Determination of Aviation Safety Impacts Is...

Alleged land use conflicts between newly proposed land uses and existing nearby airports are nothing new, and can produce heated CEQA battles as project opponents often raise “life safety” issues as potential project impacts....more

Office of Planning and Research Issues Draft Update to State CEQA Guidelines for Analyzing Traffic Impacts

Deadline for Comments is 5 p.m. on October 10 - As mandated by 2013’s Senate Bill 743, the Office of Planning and Research has released its draft update to the State CEQA Guidelines. SB 743 requires OPR to update the...more

CEQA Alert: Court of Appeal Blunts Latest CEQA Attack on California’s High-Speed Train System

On July 24, 2014, California’s Third Appellate District affirmed a trial court’s ruling that the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s (Authority’s) revised final program environmental impact report/environmental impact...more

Court Signals Green to $8.6bn California High-Speed Rail Bond Issuance

The Third District Court of Appeal reversed a Sacramento Superior Court Judge’s ruling that prohibited the High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA) from selling bonds under Proposition 1A to construct the High Speed Rail Project...more

California High Speed Rail Dodges Legal Bullet

In Town of Atherton v. CA High Speed Rail Authority, No. C070877 (Cal. Ct. App. 3d Dist., July 24, 2014), the Third Appellate District upheld the High-Speed Rail Authority’s (HSRA) Program Environmental Impact Report/ Program...more

Of High Speed Rails and Litigation Snails: The Train Rolls On As Third District Rejects Additional CEQA Challenges To High-Speed...

While CEQA actions are statutorily designed as special proceedings with priority over other civil actions, and thus mandated to be heard and resolved expeditiously, when complex or controversial projects with dedicated...more

Untamed Skies: Domestic Drones Remain Unregulated

What once was a technology confined almost exclusively to military use has now made its way into the hands of businesses, domestic agencies and private hobbyists. Small, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (or UAVs), more commonly known...more

President Unveils Build America Investment Initiative Today

President Barak Obama today announced the Build America Investment Initiative (the “Initiative”). According to the Fact Sheet released by the White House in advance of the announcement, the purpose of the Initiative is to...more

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