Zoning, Planning & Land Use Civil Procedure Commercial Real Estate

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CT Law of the Land

Week of July 6 - In June 2015, the Connecticut Appellate Court issued two significant land use decisions summarized below. In the first decision the Court analyzed when a town’s zoning regulation might be deemed void...more

High Standard for Invoking Equitable Estoppel Against the Government Reaffirmed

Schafer v. City of Los Angeles; Triangle Center, LLC, Real Party in Interest (6/17/2015, 3d Civil No. E059133) The California Court of Appeal, Second District, recently re-affirmed the heightened standard for invoking...more

Neighbors’ Noise Complaints Trigger EIR

Keep Our Mountains Quiet v. County of Santa Clara - Why It Matters: The Sixth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s holding that preparation of an EIR was required for the approval of a use permit to allow...more

RLUIPA Suit Looms After Controversial Connecticut Church Denial

The Danbury Zoning Board of Appeals denied a church’s application for variances to develop an 18-acre parcel with a house of worship and priest residence. Now, Danbury could join the list of Connecticut municipalities that...more

Court Upholds Plan to Eliminate Vehicles from Balboa Park Complex

In Save Our Heritage Organisation v. City of San Diego, et al. (No. D063992, filed 5/28/15), the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District upheld a controversial plan to eliminate vehicles from various...more

Agencies Cannot Make Conditional Final Offers of Just Compensation in Condemnation Actions

In California eminent domain cases, a property or business owner is entitled to recover litigation expenses (attorneys' fees and expert costs) when the public agency's final offer of compensation is unreasonable and the...more

A Public Agency’s Contingent Final Offer Of Compensation Is Not Reasonable

In California eminent domain cases, a property or business owner is entitled to recover litigation expenses (attorneys’ fees and expert costs) when the public agency’s final offer of compensation is unreasonable and the...more

Appellate Court Reaffirms Broad Discretion of Trial Courts to Determine Appropriate Attorneys’ Fees

The Fourth Appellate District upheld the trial court’s award of less than 10% of the fees requested by the prevailing petitioner in a CEQA case, finding no abuse of the broad discretion accorded trial courts in awarding fees....more

Looming Right of Way Certification Deadline Threatens Butte County Project

Right of Way Certification is a key project milestone; not only does it mean a project is ready for advertising but obtaining certification by a certain date is often a prerequisite for funding. Tying certification to...more

Real Estate and Land Use: Party On...

Woody’s Group, Inc. v. City of Newport Beach (2015) 233 Cal.App.4th 1012 - Why It Matters: Woody’s Group establishes a very low threshold to prove a decision maker’s unacceptable probability of actual bias, thereby...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: Legal Descriptions — Texas Supreme Court Holds Specific Controls Over The General

On March 20, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court in Doris Virginia McGregor Stribling et al. v. Millican DPC Partners, LP et al., No. 14-0500 (Tex. 2015), held that a metes and bounds description will prevail over a more general...more

Mello-Roos May Be Used to Fund Condemnation Action of Private Utility Provider

Those of us living in newer neighborhoods are familiar with Mello-Roos – it shows up on our annual tax bills as a way to pay off bonds issued to finance various public improvements, such as schools, streets, and parks that...more

Is Your Business a “Nuisance”? If so, It Could Cost You Dearly

Many landlords and businesses are already aware that they may be sued in a civil court for criminal acts committed by others on their property. While this is a reactive process that occurs in response to a specific incident,...more

Winners Beware – Fourth District Upholds Trial Court’s Discretion To Drastically Reduce Successful CEQA Plaintiff’s Fees In...

In an opinion filed March 18 and belatedly ordered published on April 13, 2015, the Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld a trial court’s discretion to award only $19,176 in attorneys’ fees under Code of Civil Procedure §...more

Are Groundwater Extraction Fees Property Related or Regulatory Fees? It Depends

Two new Proposition 218-related cases published in March come to opposite conclusions in determining whether groundwater extraction and replenishment fees are “property-related” fees subject to Article XIII D of the...more

N.C. Court of Appeals Reminds of Factual Findings Required for Award of "Reasonable" Attorney Fees

The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently reversed an award of attorney fees by the trial court on the basis that the trial court did not render the appropriate findings of fact. We're talking about Brown's Building...more

N.C. Court of Appeals Addresses Common Affirmative Defenses In Commercial Foreclosure Context

A recent opinion from the North Carolina Court of Appeals addresses some common borrower defenses within the context of foreclosure and statute of frauds issues: compromise and settlement, accord and satisfaction, the...more

Stemming the Blight: New Jersey Supreme Court Affirms Eminent Domain Powers

The New Jersey Constitution provides for taking of blighted property for the purposes of development, redevelopment or to clear such property of blight. ...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: Shades of Sheppard?

In Wagner & Brown, Ltd. v. Sheppard, 282 S.W.3d 419 (Tex. 2008), the Texas Supreme Court held that the termination of Sheppard’s lease (Sheppard was the Lessor) did not terminate her participation in a unit into which her...more

Sacramento Kings Win Again; Second CEQA Challenge Rejected

Saltonstall v. City of Sacramento (2/18/2015, 3d Civil No. C077772). The Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District of California has ruled in favor of the City of Sacramento with regard to a series of challenges...more

EU Court limits the scope of environmental liability for new owners of polluted land

The Court of Justice of the European Union (the “CJEU”) has shed light on the application of the “polluter pays” principle in the context of the EU’s Environmental Liability Directive. The judgment, handed down on 4 March...more

Appellate Court Notes

- SC19298 - Getty Properties Corp. v. ATKR, LLC Defendants appealed eviction judgments against them for a series of gas stations located on properties owned by the plaintiffs. Getty Properties Real Estate Investment...more

Undisclosed Change in Building Height Requires Supplemental EIR

Ventura Foothill Neighbors v. County of Ventura (12/15/14, 2d Civil No. B254120) - The Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District of California has ruled that (i) a 20% increase in the actual height of a...more

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Retroactive Application of Landfill Cleanup Statute

In 2004, the Illinois legislature amended the Illinois Environmental Protection Act to authorize mandatory injunctions to require cleanups of landfills. But could the courts use the statute to order cleanups of older...more

Fed. Dist. Court in FL Dismisses RLUIPA Equal Terms Claim Following Notice of Violation

A pro se plaintiff filed a claim against a city code enforcement department and its officers alleging various constitutional violations as well as a violation of RLUIPA for code enforcement activity. Plaintiff owned real...more

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