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California Supreme Court Upholds Most Commonly Used CEQA Categorical Exemptions

The California Supreme Court has issued its long-awaited decision in Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley, No. S201116 (March 2, 2015). The Court’s decision clears up some of the ambiguity that surrounded the...more

No Stone Undisclosed: City of Vancouver and Developer Appeal New Public Disclosure Standards for Development Projects

The City of Vancouver and Brenhill Developments Ltd. have appealed the January 27, 2014 decision of the BC Supreme Court in Community Association of New Yaletown v Vancouver (City), 2015 BCSC 117 (the Brenhill/New Yaletown...more

Berkeley Hillside: New Supreme Court decision defines limits of CEQA exemption challenges to development

Today, the California Supreme Court issued the highly anticipated CEQA decision: Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley. The case addresses whether the "unusual circumstances" exception to CEQA's categorical...more

Injunctive Relief for Building Encroachment. Do I Have to Move the House?

When a land owner mistakenly builds a house or other building or structure that encroaches on a neighbor’s property, what is the remedy? Does the offending land owner have to physically remove the structure from the...more

Mortgage Foreclosure Ordinances Preempted by Existing State Law

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (the “SJC”) recently decided that two mortgage foreclosure ordinances adopted by the City of Springfield were preempted by existing state law. In Easthampton Savings Bank v. City of...more

Fairfax Circuit Court Limits Homeowners’ Ability to Challenge Zoning Administrator

Contentious land use approvals often result in lawsuits, which, even when unsuccessful, can lead to costly delays for developers. In the recent case styled In Re: November 20, 2013 Decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals of...more

High Court Reaffirms Local Government's Authority in Denials of Applications for Cell Towers

Decision Clarifies that Local Government’s Decision Need Not State Reasons if they are Contemporaneously Published Elsewhere - A local government need not state the reasons for its denial of a new cell-tower...more

Court of Appeal Upholds Anti-SLAPP Motion to Defeat Claims Against Government Agencies

Ruling Allows Government Agencies to Use the Motion to Quickly End Meritless and Vexatious Lawsuits - A government agency can employ an anti-SLAPP motion to win early termination of meritless and vexatious lawsuits...more

California Supreme Court Grants Review of Coastal Act Decision with Takings Implications

In September 2014, the Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District issued a surprising decision, finding that even if an applicant maintains that it is accepting imposed permit conditions “under protest” and expressly...more

California Supreme Court to Review Denial of Homeowner’s Private Beach Access

In the case of Lynch v. California Coastal Commission (D064120; Cal.App.4th 658; San Diego Superior Court; 37-2011-00058666-CU-WM-NC), the California Supreme Court has granted a petition for review of the decision by the...more

Real Estate Tip: Should Developers Select Selective Enforcement?

Let’s say you and 20 other drivers are exceeding the speed limit and the police give you, but no one else, a speeding ticket. Analyzing your fate requires using a legal concept called “selective enforcement.” This principle...more

City SLAPPs Away Landlord's Section 1983 Claim

Anti-SLAPP motions provide defendants with a valuable tool to dispose of meritless cases that stifle protected speech . In Squires v. City of Eureka (October 17, 2014, A138768; A139849) ___Cal. App.4th___ [14 Cal. Daily Op....more

Real Property, Financial Services & Title Insurance Update: Weeks Ending November 14 & 21, 2014

REAL PROPERTY UPDATE - - Harris Act/Inverse Condemnation: dismissal was (1) improper as to landowners’ Harris Act claim because amendments to County’s land use plan were applied specifically to landowners’ property by...more

PTAB Issues Decision in Long-Running Open Space Assessment Battle

The Illinois Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB) recently issued a decision finding that the clubhouse, parking lot, swimming pool, and tennis courts at a golf club are not entitled to favorable treatment as open space. The...more

The Limits of CEQA Mitigation – Recent Judicial Applications of Nollan and Dolan

Perhaps foremost among the judicially recognized fundamental constraints on lead agencies’ power to impose various types of mitigation measures on project approvals in the CEQA process is the “doctrine of unconstitutional...more

Supreme Court Finally Schedules Oral Argument In CEQA Categorical Exemption Case

At long last, the California Supreme Court has scheduled oral argument in the case of Berkeley Hillside Preservation, et al. v. City of Berkeley, Supreme Court Case No. S201116. By its long-awaited order issued October 31,...more

The 'Rents: NCDOT Is Looking to Charge Rents, While Residential Tenants Are Denied Class Certification to Collect Rent Deposits

We've been quiet these past few weeks but the world has not been. We'd like to talk today about two entirely unrelated but fascinatingly fun topics: (1) the North Carolina Department of Transportation's ("NCDOT") idea to...more

Coastal Commission’s Public Access Easement Found to Be A Taking

In a published decision, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District rejected the California Coastal Commission’s (“Commission”) finding that there is no rational nexus or rough proportionality between...more

Unlawful Development Permit Conditions Not Binding On Second Permit Applicant When Original Permit Expires Without Use – Second...

A major fact correction on rehearing led the Second Appellate District to reverse its earlier ruling in Bowman v. California Coastal Commission (2nd Dist., Div. 6, 10/23/14, B243015 (on rehearing). The court has now held...more

Maine Supreme Court Again Declines To Allow Comprehensive Plan to Restrict Development

On October 16, 2014, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court (the Law Court) issued a decision in the case of Remmel v. City of Portland, reversing a finding by the Maine Superior Court that the Portland City Council’s approval of a...more

An Update on Recent Oil- and Gas-Related Decisions in Ohio

Due to increased drilling activity in the Utica shale formation, state and federal courts in Ohio and the 6th Circuit have recently issued decisions related to local drilling regulations, drilling permits, leasing, indemnity...more

Texas Supreme Court Accepts a Concurrent Cause and Ordinance or Law Matter Involving Hurricane Ike

On October 3rd, the Texas Supreme Court granted a policyholder’s petition for review in a Hurricane Ike matter that potentially gives Texas’ highest court an opportunity to address several important insurance issues. They...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

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

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

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