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Property Reserve on Hold: Supreme Court to Review Eminent Domain Right of Entry Statutes

Just a few months ago, the California Court of Appeal handed down a significant decision in Property Reserve v. Superior Court which nearly eviscerated public agencies' ability to make use of the statutory "right of entry"...more

Sierra Club v. County of Fresno

Why it matters: The court refined its previous test for air quality impacts analysis under CEQA, and required recirculation of an EIR due to its failure to specifically analyze the impacts on human health resulting from the...more

What's a ROG and Can It Hurt Me? EIR Overturned For Failure to Explain Air Quality Impacts to Human Health

In Sierra Club v. County of Fresno (Cal. Ct. App. 5th Dist. May 27, 2014), the Fifth Appellate District found fault with the County of Fresno’s (County) review of the Friant Ranch Project (Project) under the California...more

UPDATE*: Understanding Philadelphia Zoning Law

Moving a project through the Philadelphia zoning process can seem like a daunting task – even after Philadelphia entirely revamped its zoning code. This article will familiarize applicants with the zoning process and help...more

Real Estate and Land Use - June 2014

Bowman v. California Coastal Commission - Why it matters: The Court in Bowman held that a permit condition could not be modified or deleted by a second permit that included the same project, even if the first permit...more

Financial Infeasibility of CEQA Alternatives Determined By Reasonably Prudent Person

In SPRAWLDEF et al. v. San Franscisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, et al. (“SPRAWLDEF”)(certified for publication 5/28/2014), the First Appellate District reversed the trial court’s decision and held the San...more

Is The “Functional Interdependence” Test Dead?

On May 30, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit vacated the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA’s”) attempt to preserve an expansive view of what constitutes a single source of air emissions under...more

California Judicial Council Approves New Court Rules To Implement Expedited Procedures For CEQA Lawsuits Attacking Large...

New court rules will significantly expedite the timeline for lawsuits brought under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to challenge the certification of the environmental impact report (EIR) or the granting of...more

'Urban Decay' Still Plagues Calif. Big-Box Retail Plans

The California Environmental Quality Act has long been a key weapon in the ongoing war over development in California. In the last few years, the front line of the war has shifted to big-box retail projects. Originally...more

Some CEQA Reminders From The Third District: Urban Decay Requires Actual Mitigation When Identified By EIR As A Significant...

In a lengthy opinion filed February 28, 2014, and ordered partially published on April 1, 2014, the Third District Court of Appeal reversed the Yolo County Superior Court’s judgment denying a CEQA writ petition challenging...more

Time-Barred Claim . . . Or Is It? Supreme Court Agrees To Review Fourth Circuit State Statute of Repose Case

As reported on the Ogletree Deakins Environmental Law blog in July of 2013, a divided panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERLCA or...more

Case update Scotland: Retail park - whether tenant withholding consent to further development by landlord was reasonable

Aviva Investors Pensions Ltd v McDonald's Restaurants Ltd [2014] CSOH 009A: 31 January 2014 - Introduction - In this case, which was heard in the Outer House of the Court of Session, the judge (Lord Malcolm)...more

Redevelopment Wind-Down: A Few Random Thoughts

I saw a couple of California redevelopment-related stories over the past week that seemed worthy of at least a brief comment. First, a court decision involving a rather bold argument by a public agency. ...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

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

Expert Testimony Recommending Vapor Intrusion Study is Insufficient Evidence of Health Effects, Does Not Trigger Need for EIR

After the Berkeley City Council (“City”) approved a mixed-use commercial and residential project on the site of a former car dealership and service garage, a community group sued, claiming that pre-existing contamination on...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

Guidance For Developers: Protect Against Liability Through Planning And Regulatory Compliance

Recently, Phillips Lytle attorneys successfully appealed an award of punitive damages against a developer found liable for flooding neighboring property. Unanimously reversing the Appellate Division, the New York Court of...more

Bureau of Indian Affairs Finalizes Changes to Land-Into-Trust Procedures in Light of Patchak

In response to last year’s United States Supreme Court case of Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak, 132 S. Ct. 2199 (2012) (“Patchak”), the Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”) issued a final rule on...more

Third District Holds CEQA Does Not Require Recirculation Based On Staff-Recommended Alternative Raised After Preparation of Final...

In a recent decision extensively analyzing and applying CEQA’s rules on alternatives analysis, recirculation, and a petitioner’s burden to show agency error, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the Nevada County...more

New Alternative Does Not Trigger Recirculation of Draft EIR Unless Considered "Significant New Information"

In South County Citizens for Smart Growth v. County of Nevada, the Third Appellate District held that South County Citizens for Smart Growth’s (“Smart Growth”) claim that the County of Nevada violated CEQA by failing to...more

Wetland Projects: The Legality of Certain MDDEFP Requirements is Confirmed

On October 18, 2013, the Court of Appeal of Quebec reversed the Superior Court of Quebec’s decision in the Atocas de l’érable inc. case, quashing directive no. 06-01, used by the ministre du Développement durable, de...more

Winery Zoning Ordinance Allowing Establishment of Boutique Wineries Without Discretionary Permits Survives CEQA Challenge

A county prepared an environmental impact report (“EIR”) and adopted a zoning ordinance allowing the development of small wineries “by right,” without a discretionary permit. A citizens group opposed to the ordinance sued,...more

Virginia Supreme Court Opinions Affecting Local Government Law October 31, 2013

The Virginia Supreme Court issued new opinions this morning, some of which affect local government law. Here they are (summaries taken from the Virginia Supreme Court website, click on the Record Number to read opinion)...more

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