Zoning, Planning & Land Use Updates

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Renewable Energy Update -- September 2014 #3

Renewable Energy Focus - New solar plant nears approval in California desert: SFGate.com - Sep 15: Despite serious environmental concerns, the California Energy Commission has given a preliminary green light to a...more

FERC Order 800 eases hydropower regulations

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued an order streamlining its regulations for some small hydropower projects. FERC Order No. 800 conforms the Commission's regulations to the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency...more

Resiliency Strategies for Natural Disasters the Focus of ULI Conference

As southern California cities and property owners were seeing high surfs from a hurricane off Mexico, and less than two weeks after a 6.0 magnitude earthquake in the Napa Valley, the Urban Land Institute was holding a...more

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Nixes Proposed Delisting of Central Valley Beetle Species

On September 17, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) withdrew its proposal to remove the valley elderberry longhorn beetle (Desmocerus californicus dimorphus) from the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered...more

City’s Handling of Application for Subdivision Approvals May Trigger Liability Under Fair Housing Act

The Federal Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of housing, including discriminatory land use decisions, on account of race, color, religion, sex, national origin or familial status. The...more

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

Homeowners “Bluffed” Out Of Challenge To Coastal Permit To Rebuild Private Access Stairs

Barbara Lynch et al. v. California Coastal Commission (9/9/14, D064120) - The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Appellate District (Division One) has held that homeowners who accepted the benefit of a coastal development...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

The Canadian LNG Projects Revolution

Canada’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) market is at something of a turning point. With expanding shale reserves, an amenable regulatory environment and a general comfort with foreign investment in its oil and gas industry,...more

CT Law of the Land

SC19090, SC19091 - FairwindCT, Inc. v. Connecticut Siting Council - This decision upheld the Siting Council’s authorization to a Pullman & Comley client to install wind turbine electrical generation facilities in...more

Historic Calif. Groundwater Bills are Dry on Specifics

On Aug. 29, 2014, the California Legislature cast the final votes necessary to move three companion groundwater management bills to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk. If signed by Gov. Brown, the bills will establish the Sustainable...more

Pierce Atwood Environmental Regulatory Compliance Calendar (RCC)

This monthly publication provides information on compliance deadlines, regulatory developments, and other developments in federal, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire environmental and land use laws. NEW REGULATORY...more

City, Islamic Group Near Settlement in Mosque Suit; Proposed deal would curtail legal fees, end religious land use case

Lawyers representing an Islamic group that wants to build a mosque in Norwalk had run up an estimated $5.5 million legal tab. That number was making attorneys representing the city a bit nervous. And so the two sides...more

Aurora Energy Decision Deems Discharges Prohibited, Leaves Open Question of Permit Shield Applicability

On September 3, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its opinion in Alaska Community Action on Toxics v. Aurora Energy Services, LLC, holding that the Clean Water Act General Permit for...more

Georgia Plant Listed and 732 Acres Designated

On September 12, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published notice of its final rule listing the Georgia rockcress (Arabis georgiana) as a threatened plant species under the Endangered Species Act. On the...more

Environmental Review Required for Subdivision Map Approvals

On September 9, the Third District Court of Appeal held that tentative subdivision map approvals "always have at least the potential to cause" a direct or indirect physical change in the environment and thus are categorically...more

Supreme Court Roundup: Recent Environmental Law Rulings and Pending Cases

Scaling back considerably from the October 2012 Term, the United States Supreme Court issued only a few rulings affecting environmental law during the October 2013 Term. With significant pronouncements regarding EPA’s Clean...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

Court of Appeal Confirms Subdivision is a CEQA Project

In Rominger v. County of Colusa (2014) (September 9, 2014, C073815) __ Cal.App.4th___, the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court and held that a tentative subdivision map is a project under the California Environmental...more

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Extends Protection for Canada Lynx

On Friday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule revising the critical habitat designation for the contiguous United States distinct population segment (DPS) of the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) and...more

New RLUIPA Suit Accuses Two New York Municipalities of Anti-Semitism

The Village of Bloomingburg, NY (Village) and the Town of Mamakating, NY (Town) are facing allegations of religious discrimination in land use regulation. On September 8, 2014, the Bloomingburg Jewish Education Center,...more

Editorial: Drowning in Place: Local Government Costs and Liabilities for Flooding Due to Sea-level Rise

Many areas of Florida are experiencing increased tidal flooding due to sea-level rise (SLR). Florida has experienced eight to nine inches of SLR over the past 100 years. The roughly four and one-half inches of rise in the...more

Massachusetts Gaming Commission Continues Evaluation and Asks to Hear More From Applicants

Last week, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission announced that it was “rapidly approaching the completion of the Evaluation Process” for the Region A resort-casino license applications submitted by Wynn and Mohegan Sun. The...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

Malian Mining Sector Update: Mining Licenses Revocations and Mitigation Strategies

On 31 July 2014, the government of Mali announced that approximately 30 % of all mining permits—spanning a surface area of more than 5,000 square miles—had been cancelled in order to “clean up the sector.” Permits revocations...more

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