Articles Posted in Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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Homeowners who sought and were granted a permit from the California Coastal Commission to build a new seawall and repair their beach access stairway, subject to several mitigation conditions, forfeited their challenge objecting to two conditions because they accepted the benefits that the permit conferred. When winter storms damaged the seawall protecting their blufftop properties, Plaintiffs sought a new permit to demolish the old structure, construct a new seawall across their properties, and rebuild the stairway. The Commission approved a coastal development permit allowing seawall demolition and reconstruction subject to several conditions. Plaintiffs filed a petition for writ of administrative mandate challenging certain conditions. While the litigation proceeded, Plaintiffs obtained the permit and built the seawall. The trial court issued a writ directing the Commission to remove the challenged conditions. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs forfeited their objections by constructing the project. View "Lynch v. California Coastal Commission" on Justia Law

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In 2006, Milan REI IV LLC (Milan) purchased more than fifty acres of land in the Orange Park Acres area in the City of Orange with plans to develop a residential development on the property. The City approved Milan’s request to amend its general plan and permit development on the property, despite controversy over the private development replacing public open space. Orange Citizens for Parks and Recreation and Orange Parks Association (together, Orange Citizens) challenged the City’s amendment by referendum. The City concluded that the referendum, whatever its outcome, would have no effect because a resolution from 1973 permitted residential development on the property. In 2012, fifty-six percent of voters rejected the City’s general plan amendment. The court of appeal upheld the City’s approval of the project. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the City abused its discretion in interpreting its 2010 General Plan to permit residential development on the property. View "Orange Citizens for Parks & Recreation v. Superior Court of Orange County" on Justia Law

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This dispute concerned a 1.66-acre strip of Defendants’ land that the City of Perris condemned in order to build a road. The City offered to pay Defendants the agricultural value of the strip, relying on City of Porterville v. Young. The trial court agreed with the City, concluding that Porterville applied in this case and that Defendants were entitled to a stipulated agricultural value of $44,000 for the taking. In so deciding, the trial judge concluded that the City’s dedication requirement was lawful under Nollan v. California Coastal Commission and Dolan v. City of Tigard. The Court of Appeal remanded the case to revisit the legality of the dedication requirement, concluding that the lawfulness of the dedication and requirement under Nollan and Dolan should have been decided by a jury, not a judge. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the constitutionality of a dedication requirement under Nollan and Dolan is a question for a court, rather than a jury; and (2) the project effect rule generally applies, and the Porterville doctrine does not apply, to situations when it is probable at the time a dedication requirement is put in place that the property designated for public use will be included in the project for which the condemnation is sought. Remanded. View "City of Perris v. Stamper" on Justia Law

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Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. sought to expand its store in the City of Sonora. The City Council postponed its vote on the project while a voter-sponsored initiative was circulated, which proposed to adopt a plan for the contemplated expansion. The Council subsequently adopted the ordinance. The Tuoloumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance sought a writ of mandate based on four causes of action, the first of which asserted that the Council violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by adopting the ordinance without first conducting a complete environmental review. The Court of Appeals granted the writ as to the first cause of action, concluding that when a land use ordinance is proposed in a voter initiative petition, full CEQA review is required if the city adopts the ordinance rather than submitting it to an election. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that CEQA review is not required before direct adoption of an initiative, just as it is not required before voters adopt an initiative at an election. View "Tuolumne Jobs & Small Bus. Alliance v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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Developer sought to build ninety-six condominiums, but as a condition of obtaining a permit to do so, City required Developer to set aside ten condominium units as below market rate housing and make a substantial payment to a city fund. Developer challenged these requirements but did so while proceeding with construction. At issue before the Supreme Court was whether Cal. Gov't Code 66020, which permits a developer to proceed with a project while also protesting the imposition of "fees, dedications, reservations, or other exactions," applied in this case. The lower courts held that section 66020 did not apply, and thus, the action was untimely. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that even if the requirements at issue in this case were not "fees" under section 66020, they were "other exactions," and accordingly, Developer was permitted to challenge the requirements while the project proceeded. View "Sterling Park, LP v. City of Palo Alto" on Justia Law

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The City of Riverside declared, by zoning ordinances, that medical marijuana dispensaries were prohibited within the City. Invoking these provisions, the City brought a nuisance action against a facility operated by Defendants. The trial court issued a preliminary injunction against the distribution of marijuana from the facility. The court of appeal affirmed. Defendants appealed, arguing that the Compassionate Use Act (CUA) and the Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) preempted the City's total ban on facilities that cultivated and distributed medical marijuana in compliance with the CUA and MMP. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that California's medical marijuana statutes do not expressly or impliedly preempt the authority of California cities and counties, under their traditional land use and police powers, to allow, restrict, limit, or entirely exclude facilities that distribute medical marijuana, and to enforce such policies by nuisance actions. View "City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health & Wellness Ctr., Inc." on Justia Law

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This controversy arose after the City of Los Angeles refused to accept Pacific Palisades Bowl Mobile Estates's application to convert its 170-unit mobilehome park from tenant occupancy to resident ownership because Palisades Bowl had failed to include applications for a coastal development permit or for Mello Act approval. Palisades Bowl filed a petition for writ of mandate and a complaint for injunctive and declaratory relief. The trial court granted the relief, commanding the City to evaluate the application for approval without considering whether it complied with either the California Coastal Act or the Mello Act. The court of appeal reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the requirements of the Coastal Act and the Mello Act apply to a proposed conversion, within California's coastal zone, of a mobilehome park from tenant occupancy to resident ownership. In so holding, the Court rejected the argument that such a conversion is not a "development" for the purposes of the Coastal Act and that Cal. Gov't Code 66427.5 exempts such conversion from the need to comply with other state laws, or precludes local governmental agencies from exercising state-delegated authority to require compliance with state laws such as the Coastal Act or the Mello Act. View "Pac. Palisades Bowl Mobile Estates, LLC v. City of Los Angeles" on Justia Law

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This case stemmed from the county's determination that a proposed building project was categorically exempt from compliance with environmental law requirements. At issue was a statutory provision stating that a public agency's approval of a proposed project could be challenged in court only on grounds that were "presented to the public agency orally or in writing by any person during the public comment period...or prior to the close of the public hearing on the project before the issuance of the notice of determination." Pub. Resources Code, 21177, subd.(a). The court held that this exhaustion-of-administrative-remedies provision applied to a public agency's decision that a project was categorically exempt from environmental law requirements. Therefore, the judgment of the Court of Appeal was reversed, and the matter was remanded to that court so it could address petitioners' remaining contentions that, although raised by petitioners, were not resolved by that court because of its conclusion that section 21177's exhaustion-of-administrative remedies requirement was inapplicable. View "Tomlinson v. Co. of Alameda" on Justia Law

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This case stemmed from the taking of property in downtown Los Angeles to comply with a federal court order to improve the quality of bus services and involved California's "quick-take" eminent domain procedure, Code of Civil Procedure 1255.010, 1244.410, where a public entity filing a condemnation action could seek immediate possession of the condemned property upon depositing with the court the probable compensation for the property. At issue was Section 1255.260's proper interpretation. The court of appeals in this case held that, under the statute, if a lender holding a lien on condemned property applied to withdraw a portion of the deposit, and the property owner did not object to the application, the lender's withdrawal of a portion of the deposit constituted a waiver of the property owner's claims and defenses, except a claim for greater compensation. The court found the court of appeal's conclusion was inconsistent with the relevant statutory language and framework. Therefore, the court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals. View "L.A. Cty. Metro. Trans. v. Alameda Produce Market, LLC, et al." on Justia Law