Zoning, Planning & Land Use Updates

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Revision Of Coal Mining Permit By Environmental Group Results In Attorney Fee Award

In Black Mesa v. Jewell, 2015 DJDAR 1050, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that an environmental group was entitled to an award of attorney fees arising out of their challenge to the Office...more

Court Rules Planned Development of Banning Ranch May Proceed

In Banning Ranch Conservancy v. City of Newport Beach (filed 5/20/2015, No. G049691), the California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, held the Environmental Impact Report prepared by the City of Newport Beach for the partial...more

Easy Cases Make Better Law — Standing Edition

In an interesting, but not really difficult, decision on Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the National Association of Home Builders did not have standing to challenge a consent decree pursuant to which...more

Looks Like Frack is Back, Governor Abbott Signs House Bill 40

Yesterday, Governor Gregg Abbott signed into law House Bill 40, also known as the Denton Fracking Bill, which leaves municipalities with minimal power to regulate the oil and gas industry. The bill takes effect immediately...more

Santa Monica Takes Bold Steps to Enforce its Short-Term Rental Regulations

One of the chief issues facing local governments as they contend with regulation of short-term rental marketplaces is the trouble of enforcing whatever framework they develop. After passing tough regulations last week, the...more

Renewable Energy Update - May 2015 #3

Renewable Energy Focus - New legislation proposed to extend ITC: PV-Tech - May 20: A new piece of legislation has been proposed that would help extend the investment tax credit (ITC) for both residential and commercial...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - May 2015 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - Crews struggle to clean up oil spill near Santa Barbara: KQED - May 21: Crews will begin excavating the 24-inch pipeline that ruptured Tuesday, unleashing a flow of crude oil that has...more

Redevelopment By Any Other Name Would Still Be Redevelopment…

It appears the state assembly is trying to get California back on the redevelopment wagon…again. (For a brief history lesson on redevelopment, see below.) Assembly Bill 2 (AB2), which passed the assembly earlier this month,...more

Agreement Between Mongolia and Rio Tinto Opens Door to Future Mining Projects, Economic Growth

On May 18, 2015, the Government of Mongolia, Rio Tinto and the Rio Tinto subsidiary, Turquoise Hill Resources, reached agreement on development of the underground phase of the Oyu Tolgoi mining project. The agreement, termed...more

USFWS Launches New Regulatory Program Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

The US Fish and Wildlife Service issued a Notice of Intent to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of an incidental take program under the Migratory Bird...more

USFWS to Evaluate New Incidental Take Permitting Program Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) published notice in the Federal Register announcing that it intends to prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement to evaluate the effects of a program that...more

Luxury & Culture Behind Miami’s Growth as a Destination for the Wealthy

The City of Miami continues to emerge as a top global destination for the über-wealthy. According to Knight Frank’s annual Wealth Report (2015), Miami is ranked 6th globally, 2nd in the U.S. and will remain among the world’s...more

Prisoner in Seventh Circuit to Receive Venison and Religious Headband; Impact of Hobby Lobby and Holt on the Land Use World...

Last week, we reported on a case where the Southern District of Florida decided against the Florida Department of Corrections, finding its refusal to provide kosher meals to inmates violates the Religious Land Use and...more

Fourth District Holds CEQA Does Not Require City To Predict ESHA Determinations In Approving Project Over Which Coastal Commission...

In a published opinion filed May 20, 2015, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s judgment granting mandate relief based on a general plan violation, affirmed its denial of relief under CEQA, and...more

Can the Tax Man Come After Your Stored Gas?

The owner of 33 BCF of gas cant’ just stuff it in his pocket and move it county-to-county to avoid taxes. So, the question: Is gas in storage subject to ad valorem tax on personal property? The Harris County Appraisal...more

Floods in Texas, Flood Mapping, Flood Dollars

Floods on the Rio Blanco these past few days demonstrate the link to climate change, but not in the way you think. It was a horrible Memorial Day weekend in Hays County, Texas. At least three people died from the worst...more

RLUIPA Round-Up

RLUIPA Defense is excited to bring you week two of the RLUIPA Round-Up – a weekly run through of recent religious land use disputes and other matters involving local government and religion throughout the country, as well as...more

The 411 on the New 415 Location of the Golden State Warriors

You can feel the buzz here in the Bay Area as the Golden State Warriors enter Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs following a 35 point upset over the Houston Rockets on Saturday, and a chance tonight to sweep the series and head to...more

Proposed California Law Would Automatically Approve Applications for Cell Sites

Municipalities Should Act Immediately if They Wish to Make their Views Known to their Legislators - The California State Assembly’s Local Government Committee has unanimously voted Assembly Bill 57 out of committee,...more

California's Office of Planning and Research Releases Draft Technical Advisory for Formal Native American Consultations Under AB...

Comments on the Draft Advisory due by June 1 - The Office of Planning and Research released a Draft Advisory earlier this month entitled “Discussion Draft Technical Advisory: AB 52 and Tribal Cultural Resources in CEQA”...more

Infill and Adaptive Reuse – Is It Right For My Project?

Fewer words in the context of land use planning come with as negative a connotation as “sprawl.” There’s a good reason for this, as the term denotes a move outwards from the heart of a city, pushing communities further apart...more

Frack 2.0: Refracing Could Enable a Second Wave of Production Growth in the Bakken and Eagle Ford

Operators will likely refrac more oil and gas wells this year and further accelerate such activity in 2016. The reason is simple: substantial bang for CAPEX bucks. A recent study by engineers from SPE and Baker Hughes...more

Pennsylvania Joins Oklahoma, Bans Homeowners Insurers From Attributing Earthquakes to Fracking

Last month we reported that the Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner had issued a bulletin cautioning earthquake insurers against denying claims on the basis that the quake was attributable to a man-made cause, which is to say oil...more

Texas Supreme Court Avoids Answering a Fundamental Question in a Wastewater Disposal Case

One year ago, in the May 2014 issue of the Energy Newsletter, we highlighted the case of Environmental Processing Systems, L.C. v. FPL Farming Ltd., (2015 WL 496336) an important environmental trespass case pending before the...more

Industry and Environmental Groups Make Pitch to Water Board Regarding Draft Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring

On Tuesday, May 19, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) held a Public Workshop regarding the proposed Draft Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring (“Model Criteria”). In this meeting, the Water...more

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