Urban Planning & Development

News & Analysis as of

Density Bonus Comes to San Francisco

In the face of runaway housing costs, San Francisco is proposing to implement the state “density bonus” law. First adopted by the California legislature thirty-six years ago, the state law (California Government Code Section...more

Tax Increment Financing Implementation Changes Coming Soon

As many of you who are involved in developing projects in urban renewal or downtown development areas know, the principal method for financing such projects is tax increment financing (TIF). Tax increment financing is...more

Flushing Out the Safe Harbor: “General Land Area Minimum” Offers Newton No 40B Shelter

Municipalities long unable to achieve ten percent affordable housing are now turning more frequently to a different Safe Harbor to block development of low and moderate income housing – compliance with the “General Land Area...more

Disparate Impact Claims Fair Game under the Fair Housing Act

The United States Supreme Court, in a five-to-four decision in June, brought housing discrimination law ever-so-slightly more in line with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) by holding that claims of...more

California Supreme Court Holds that State Agencies May Not Escape CEQA Mitigation Requirements Based on Failure of the Legislature...

In a decision that enhances the ability of local interests to obtain mitigation funds from state agencies, the California Supreme Court held that the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA") requires the Board of...more

Land Use & Natural Resources Case Law Update Second Quarter 2015

Banning Ranch Conservancy v. City of Newport Beach - 236 Cal.App.4th 1341 - This case involved the City of Newport Beach’s approval of a mixed-use development project on land located within the coastal zone. Banning...more

Three-Judge Panel Invalidates State's Efforts to Spay/Neuter Town's Planning and Development Regulation Powers

Today, a three judge panel of the North Carolina state court declared unconstitutional a State law that blocks a municipality -- one municipality -- from exercising its power to create an extraterritorial planning...more

(UK) UK Government Policy Reversal on Small Developments Affordable Housing and the Vacant Building Credit

The recently introduced vacant building credit, and policy exemption for small developments from affordable housing contributions have been swiftly removed from national planning guidance this morning following a High Court...more

Practical questions persist on zonal planning proposal

This month's Fixing the Foundations 'productivity plan' commits the government to 'an urban planning revolution on brownfield sites'. Ministers have already pledged to create a register of brownfield land suitable for...more

Disparate Impact is Here to Stay: What the Supreme Court's Decision Means for the Multi-Family Industry

On June 25, 2015, Justice Kennedy delivered the Supreme Court’s decision in Texas v. Inclusive Communities Project. In the case, the Court determined that the Fair Housing Act of 1968 includes disparate impact claims. Prior...more

Doin' the Deed: State Conveys 300 Acres of Urban Property to City of Raleigh

We've blogged in the past about the political saga between the City of Raleigh and the State of North Carolina over the Dorothea Dix property in downtown Raleigh, a 300-plus acre piece of lovely real estate. And you thought...more

A breath of fresh air for our cities?

A working group chaired by Stéphane Illouz, partner in Reed Smith’s real estate and environment department in Paris, in partnership with French think tank La Fabrique Ecologique, has published a report on the subject of air...more

Supreme Court Affirms FHA Disparate Impact Claims

Late last month, the Supreme Court handed down a significant decision affecting rights and obligations under the Fair Housing Act. The Court’s 5-4 decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive...more

Owners and Developers Should Review Permits Now Before Time Runs Out

At the end of June, Governor Raimondo signed into law legislation that suspends the running and expiration of all development permits until June 30, 2016. This suspension further expands a permit toll that has been in place,...more

The Newest Sign for Some Sign Ordinances: Stop

Sign ordinances and regulations are a fixture of city and county zoning and land use regulations, designed to prevent unattractive clutter from obstructing the public view. In creating these regulations, however, local...more

June 12, 2015 Womble Legislative Update

The Senate needed a little more time to put the finishing touches on its budget, so we didn’t get to see it this week. We’re now expecting it to be released on Monday and passed by the Senate by the end of the week. ...more

Arizona Town's Content-Based Sign Rules Struck Down by U.S. Supreme Court

Local agencies urged to review sign codes in favor of content-neutral rules - The United States Supreme Court recently struck down portions of an Arizona town’s sign code that subjected ideological, political and...more

Housing and Sustainability Projects in California Awarded Millions

The Strategic Growth Council approved nearly $122 million in grants for 28 affordable housing and sustainability projects across California, according to an article in the California Planning & Development Report. This...more

Joining the dots on the Northern Powerhouse - Transport

This article is part of a series in which DLA Piper professionals define what the Northern Powerhouse means to them, and how to deliver the regeneration of the Northern economy. The author was part of a forum that contributed...more

Four Books That Should Be On Every City Official’s Summer Reading List

Cities and their metro regions are getting increased attention as sources of innovation and local collaborative leadership to address national problems ranging from the infrastructure gap to physical and social mobility and...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

Main Street v. Hackensack: A Cure in the Redevelopment Area Process . . . but Still in Need of an Ounce of Prevention

Until the recent Supreme Court decision in 62-64 Main Street, L.L.C. v. Hackensack, 221 N.J. 129 (2015) (“Hackensack”), many municipalities and developers of redevelopment projects were concerned that if an existing area in...more

House Bill 15-1348-Urban Renewal – Frequently Asked Questions

H.B. 15-1348 was signed by the Governor on May 29. The bill enacts several changes related to urban renewal authorities and tax increment financing for such authorities including governance changes and changes related to how...more

MDARD Workgroup Recommends Legislation to Support Urban Livestock Operations

Property owners who want to start or expand commercial livestock operations are required to go through a site verification process designed to ensure compliance with Michigan’s Generally Accepted Agricultural Management...more

Proposed Extensions for Boston's Expiring Urban Renewal Plans

The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) is considering 10-year extensions for 14 urban renewal plans, originally adopted in the 1960s and early 1970s, that cover approximately 10% of Boston’s land area. If the proposed...more

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