California Land Use & Development Law Report

Legal Commentary on Planning and Development

Latest from California Land Use & Development Law Report - Page 2

A challenge to a water district’s increase in its ad valorem property tax was untimely under the 60-day statute of limitations in the validation statutes. Coachella Valley Water District v. Superior Court (Roberts), No. E074010 (4th Dist., March 9, 2021). Code of Civil Procedure sections 860-870 provide for accelerated procedures for determining the validity of certain bonds, assessments and agreements entered into by public agencies. Referred to as the validation statutes, they allow a public agency to file an action to promptly determine the validity of any of the agency’s acts that fall within the scope of their provisions.…
The Ninth Circuit reversed a conviction for three counts of violations under the Clean Water Act because the district court failed to instruct the jury that the defendant needed to knowingly discharge material “into water” to convict. United States v. Lucero, No. 19-10074 (9th Cir. March 4, 2021). In the summer of 2014, Lucero executed a scheme under which he charged construction companies to dump dirt and debris on lands near the San Francisco Bay, including wetlands and a tributary subject to the Clean Water Act. Although Lucero admitted to “walking the land” where the dumping happened, the period…
The Court of Appeal held that an agreement obligating a developer and city to indemnify LAFCO against claims arising from its annexation decision lacked consideration because the agreement simply required LAFCO to do what it was already obligated to do by statute. San Luis Obispo Local Agency Formation Commission v. City of Pismo Beach, No. B296968 (2nd Dist., March 3, 2021). The City of Pismo Beach approved a 252-unit residential subdivision and the City and developer applied to the San Luis Obispo LAFCO to annex the property. The LAFCO application signed by the City and developer included an agreement…
The state was required to reimburse municipalities for the cost of state-mandated trash receptacles at transit stops because local governments lacked authority under Proposition 218 to impose fees either on transit agencies or on owners of adjacent property to recover such costs. Department of Finance v. Commission on State Mandates, No. B292446 (2nd Dist., Jan. 4, 2021). The Regional Water Quality Control Board, Los Angeles Region issued a permit authorizing the County of Los Angeles and certain cities (collectively, the Operators) to operate stormwater drainage systems. The permit required the Operators to (1) install and maintain trash receptacles at…
Another court of appeal has held that local special taxes adopted by a citizen-sponsored initiative do not require two-thirds voter approval.  Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. City and County of San Francisco, No. A157983 (1st Dist., Jan. 27, 2021, as modified Feb. 22, 2021). In June 2018, 51 percent of San Francisco voters passed the “Universal Childcare for San Francisco Families Initiative.” This initiative proposed a tax on certain commercial rents to fund early childcare and education.  The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association brought suit challenging the initiative, claiming that Proposition 13 (1978), Proposition 218 (1996) and the San Francisco…
The Court of Appeal held that a landowner’s petition for “exclusion” under the Subdivision Map Act seeking orders declaring a parcel map void and restoring the historical lot lines was barred under the doctrine of laches. Decea v. City. of Ventura, 59 Cal. App. 5th 1097 (2021). Decea bought a house in the Lake Sherwood community of Ventura County in 2007. The house sat within “Parcel A” on a map recorded by a former owner in 1974. The 1974 map also included historical lot lines from a subdivision map recorded by the original developers in 1923. Parcel A overlaid three…
A regional water board is not required to estimate the compliance costs for individual permittees before issuing a permit. City of Duarte v. State Water Resources Control Board, 60 Cal. App. 5th 258 (2021). The case involved the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit issued to 86 municipal entities in Los Angeles County that operate municipal separate storm sewer systems (commonly referred to as MS4s). The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board issued the permit in November 2012, and the State Water Resources Control Board upheld the permit with modifications in June 2015. The permit included numeric effluent limitations…
The Ninth Circuit held that a private nonprofit club that leased city property was not a state actor that could be held liable for constitutional claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pasadena Republican Club v. Western Justice Center, No. 20-55093 (9th Cir., Jan 21, 2021). The City of Pasadena leased city-owned property to the Western Justice Center, a private nonprofit that provided law-related services and occasionally rented out its event space to community groups after hours. The terms of the lease required WJC to independently manage the property and pay for repairs, renovations, and maintenance. In April 2017, the…
On January 26, 2021, attorneys from Perkins Coie presented the 31st Annual Land Use and Development Law Briefing. Topics included: Key Developments in Land Use Law Legislative Changes Affecting Housing Development CEQA: Key Cases and Trends COVID 19 — Real Estate Impacts Wetlands, Endangered Species and NEPA Update A full set of the written materials, in pdf form, is available here. If you would like a bound, hard copy of the materials, please click here. Selected materials from the presentation have also been posted on the California Land Use and Development Law Report (See CEQA Year in
Below are summaries of the key California and Ninth Circuit land use and development cases decided in 2020. Each case name is linked to our more extensive discussion of the case on the Land Use & Development Law Report. 1.  Planning and Zoning GRANNY PURPS, INC. v. COUNTY OF SANTA CRUZ53 Cal. App. 5th 1 (2020) The court of appeal held that the County of Santa Cruz was required to return approximately 2,000 medical marijuana plants seized from a dispensary. Local law enforcement had seized the plants due to a violation of a county zoning ordinance that prohibits cultivation…