Zoning, Planning & Land Use Constitutional Law

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10th Circ.: Permit Issuance Is Not State Action For Purposes of 14th Amendment

On April 19, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, in Wasatch Equality, et al., v. Alta Ski Lifts Company, et al., affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit claiming that the U.S. Forest Service, in...more

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Not a Religion, Says Federal Court

We don’t often report on RLUIPA prisoner cases (recall, that RLUIPA applies in the land use and prison contexts). But a recent federal decision in Nebraska – Cavanaugh v. Bartelt (D. Nebraska 2016), is just too good to pass...more

Alabama Sex Offender Religious Land Use Case To Proceed

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama has ruled that Ricky Martin may proceed with his religious land use and other claims against the Chilton County District Attorney Randall Houston. The Middle...more

“All Aboriginal Peoples”: SCC Rules Non-Status Indians and Métis are “Indians” under the Constitution

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a unanimous decision in Daniels v Canada (Indian Affairs and Northern Development), 2016 SCC 12 declaring that non-status Indians and Métis are “Indians” under s 91(24) of the...more

Children’s Crusade to Combat Climate Change Continues

A federal magistrate judge in Oregon has kept alive the dreams of a group of young plaintiffs—aided by environmental advocacy groups—to compel government action against climate change. Like a similar case brought by the same...more

Chabad Files RLUIPA Suit Against Toms River, New Jersey

Rabbi Moshe Gourarie and the Chabad Jewish Center of Toms River Inc. (the “Center”) have sued the Township of Toms River, New Jersey, and the Township’s Zoning Board of Adjustment (“ZBA”) in the Federal District Court of New...more

Beyond the Bathroom: North Carolina’s H.B. 2 Also Flushes Local Employee Protections

The recent enactment of North Carolina’s H.B. 2, known as the “Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act” (the “Act”) has received widespread attention for its controversial restrictions on the use of certain...more

5 Things I Learned From APA’s National Conference in Phoenix

I just returned from the American Planning Association’s National Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. I look forward to this conference every year to get together with planners from across the country, eat some local food, and...more

Texas Supreme Court: Improper Application of Project-Influence Rule Resulted in Harmful Error

The Texas Constitution provides that “[n]o person’s property shall be taken, damaged or destroyed for or applied to public use without adequate compensation being made.” Tex. Const. art. I, § 17. The Texas Supreme Court has...more

Unraveling the Property Right of Access to Roadways

For owners, “access” to abutting or surrounding roadways is essential to their property. Without it a piece of property is “landlocked” and thus has little, if any, economic utility. Private property owners want good access...more

Property Reserve Case Set for Oral Argument

The California Supreme Court announced today that the Property Reserve case will be heard on May 3, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. in San Francisco. (I’m assuming this is not an April Fool’s joke, since eminent domain attorneys have...more

Gas Company May Challenge Local Ordinance Prohibiting Deposit of Flowback Water into Underground Injection Wells

A Federal Magistrate Judge in Pennsylvania has ruled that an oil and gas exploration company may challenge a township ordinance that makes it unlawful to deposit flowback water into underground injection wells within the...more

Be Safe, Get Your Standing Evidence in Early

A Land Use Practitioner representing opposition intervenors in a quasi-judicial land use matter is best served to present any evidence of special damages during the quasi-judicial hearing in order to preserve standing for...more

Recovery House’s RLUIPA Challenge Fails

The District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has rejected RLUIPA and other claims asserted by a religious group in Affordable Recovery Housing v. City of Blue Island (N.D. Ill. 2016). The case stems from...more

Real Estate and Land Use - March 2016

A Rare Win for Former Redevelopment Agencies—State Collection Procedures Ruled Unconstitutional - City of Bellflower v. Michael Cohen, Director of the Department of Finance (245 Cal. App. 4th 438) - Why It Matters:...more

SC Public Policy Update - March 2016 #3

What's New - SENATE - The Senate spent the week on the floor working on a compromise to S .997, a bill by Senator Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg) that would track refugees that are located in South Carolina. Senators...more

Supreme Court Update: Hawkins V. Patterson (14-520), Tyson Foods V. Bouaphakeo (14-1146), Nebraska V. Parker (14-406), Sturgeon V....

So many announcements since our last Update. The President announced D.C. Circuit Chief Judge Merrick Garland as his pick to take the late Justice Scalia's seat on the Court; Senate Republicans promptly announced that they...more

New Jersey District Court Remands RLUIPA and Equal Protection Defense to State Court

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sued the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Morris County Preservation Trust Fund Review Board, and Joseph A. Kovalcik, Jr. (“Defendants”) in New Jersey Superior Court claiming...more

State Well Permit Prevails Over Local Zoning – Again

The state laws of Louisiana regulating oil and gas exploration and production will trump local regulations. See St. Tammany Parish Government v. State of Louisiana, Office of Conservation. (Forgive us for that word that...more

West Virginia Church Prevails Against Development Authority

Late last year, Summit Church of Elkins, West Virginia, sued the Randolph County Development Authority (“RCDA”) in the Northern District of West Virginia for preventing the Church from purchasing a local movie theater for...more

Ninth Circuit Rules in Favor of Soup Kitchen in Dispute with San Buenaventura, CA

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has reversed a district court’s decision that Harbor Missionary Church’s (Church) religious exercise was not substantially burdened by the City of San Buenaventura’s denial of a...more

Governor Brown Signs Bill Giving Local Entities More Time to Ban or Regulate Medical Marijuana

History. Shortly after the Compassionate Use Act (CUA) became law in 1996 by California voter initiative, the Medical Marijuana Program Act (MMPA) (Health & S C §§11362.7–11362.83) was enacted by the legislature to clarify...more

Regulatory Takings Cases and the Relevant Parcel: Murr v. Wisconsin

This summer, in Murr v. Wisconsin, the United States Supreme Court will make an important decision on property rights and regulatory takings under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. At issue...more

All Hell Breaks Loose in Phoenix Satanic Prayer Showdown

In our post last month Satanists Score Victory in Phoenix, we reported on the controversy involving the Satanic Temple’s request to open Phoenix City Council’s meeting with prayer....more

Connecticut Soup Kitchen to Remain Open Following Settlement

The City of Norwich, Connecticut has agreed to end a three-year legal battle to settle three separate federal lawsuits allowing St. Vincent de Paul Place, Norwich, Inc., a ministry of The Polish Roman Catholic Congregation...more

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