Zoning, Planning & Land Use Civil Procedure

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Court Reluctantly Upholds Designation of Critial Habitat for Frog

Last week, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana upheld the designation of approximately 1,544 acres of privately-owned timber land located in Louisiana as critical habitat for the dusky...more

New Kazakhstan Permits and Notifications Law

The provisions that relate to permits and licenses were recently consolidated into one legislative act. In November 2014, the Permits and Notifications Law of 16 May 2014 (the New Law) will take effect in Kazakhstan....more

Parkmerced Project Upheld Against CEQA and General Plan Inconsistency Challenges In San Francisco Tomorrow v. City and County of...

In a lengthy, mostly-unpublished opinion filed on August 14, 2014, the First District Court of Appeal affirmed the superior court’s judgment denying a writ petition challenging the Parkmerced Development Project. San...more

CEQA: Are time extensions for nonconforming uses exempt from review?

Is an extension of time for an existing nonconforming use exempt from CEQA review? A new writ action just filed proposes to resolve that issue....more

Did Koontz Stop Illegal Development Exactions in California?

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision last year in Koontz v. St. John's River Water Management District received quite a bit of national coverage in the development world. If you'll recall, Koontz held that the nexus and...more

Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission Appeals Act 13 Ruling to State Supreme Court

The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PPUC) is asking the state Supreme Court to review a July ruling by the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court that strips PPUC of its authority to review and approve local drilling...more

California Coastal Commission Further Solidifies Enforcement Powers

An informal Attorney General advice letter and recent legislation attempt to clarify the Coastal Commission’s powers in carrying out its enforcement authority. The extent of the California Coastal Commission’s legal...more

Texas Supreme Court opinions and orders (8/14 - Part 1)

In its weekly orders (8/22/14), the Texas Supreme Court issued seven opinions, granted four petitions for review, and set four mandamus petitions for argument. In this post, I will summarize three of the opinions, two of the...more

Mortgagees Face Increased Penalties for Failure to Remedy Municipal Violations on New Jersey Properties in Foreclosure

Action items: As a result of the recent changes in New Jersey law, mortgagees and servicers should review their practices and procedures to ensure timely response to notices of municipal code violations on abandoned or vacant...more

Confirmation That the Limitation Period for 'Building Actions' is 10 Years, Not Six

The recent Victorian Court of Appeal decision of Brirek Industries Pty Ltd v McKenzie Group Consulting (Vic) Pty Ltd [2014] VSCA 165 (Brirek Case) has settled the appropriate time period, at least in Victoria, in which a...more

You Can’t Estop the Government — Even When It Wants to Be Estopped

Last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision that arguably explains everything from why the Tea Party exists to why otherwise calm and sane executives suddenly lose all their hair. Perhaps most astounding,...more

Real Estate and Land Use - August 2014

Chula Vista Citizens for Jobs and Fair Competition, et al. v. Donna Norris, et al. - Why it matters: With land use issues and development projects increasingly the subject of local ballot initiatives, it is imperative...more

Brirek Industries Pty Ltd v McKenzie Group Consulting (Vic) Pty Ltd – more claims against building practitioners?

On 6 August 2014, the Victorian Court of Appeal handed its decision in Brirek Industries Pty Ltd v McKenzie Group Consulting (Vic) Pty Ltd [2014] VSCA 165. The decision clarified the operation of limitation periods in...more

Tuolumne Jobs Case

The California Supreme Court has just issued an opinion which may encourage the use of initiatives. At issue in the case was an initiative to adopt a specific plan to streamline approval for construction and operation of a...more

New Jersey Supreme Court Officially Adopts Common Interest Doctrine - This Opinion Is Consistent with Those in Other States and...

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently issued an opinion that, for the first time in New Jersey, expressly adopted the "common interest doctrine." The July 21, 2014, opinion provided confidentiality protections for...more

Court of Appeal Clarifies Requirements for Public Input on Development Agreements

Due process rights to notice and a public hearing for those who may be affected do not apply to a public agency’s consideration of approval of a development agreement, an appellate court has ruled. In addition, the First...more

California District Court Dismisses ESA Section 7 Case for Failure to Allege that Agency Action Took Place on the "High Seas"

On August 12, a judge for the Northern District of California granted a motion to dismiss claims alleging that a federal agency violated section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by failing to consult with federal...more

Fifth Circuit Holds that the Army Corps of Engineers' Jurisdictional Determination Does Not Constitute a Reviewable "Final Agency...

On July 30, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the issuance of a jurisdictional determination (JD) by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is not a final agency action subject to...more

Supreme Court Opens Escape Path From CEQA Via Citizens Initiative – Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court

Why it matters: Project proponents may avoid CEQA altogether by gathering sufficient voter signatures and then having the local City Council approve the proposed project, without submitting the measure to a vote of the...more

California Supreme Court Holds No CEQA Review Required for a Voter Initiative-Sponsored Ordinance

In a relatively short decision, the California Supreme Court held in Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court of Tuolumne County (Tuolumne Jobs) that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) does not...more

Decision: Voter-Sponsored Local Land Use Initiatives Not Subject to Environmental Review

The proposed expansion of a Wal-Mart store into a Wal-Mart Supercenter in the City of Tuolumne, Calif. yielded a California Supreme Court decision that says city councils need not comply with CEQA before adopting a...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

Renewable Energy Update -- August 2014 #2

Renewable Energy Focus - Renewables provide 56 percent of new U.S. generating capacity in first half of 2014: Electric Light & Power - Jul 21: Solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydropower provided 55.7 percent of...more

Supreme Court Confirms CEQA Exemption for Voter-Sponsored Initiatives

In Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court, No. S207173 (Supreme Court, Aug. 7, 2014), the California Supreme Court ruled that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) does not apply when a lead...more

The California Supreme Court Further Limits the Scope of CEQA Review for Voter-Sponsored Initiatives in Tuolumne Jobs & Small...

Voter-driven initiatives meeting California Elections Code requirements may be adopted directly by local governments without first conducting a full review under the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA"), according to...more

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