Real Estate, Land Use & Environmental Law Blog

Up-to-date Information on Real Estate, Land Use & Environmental Law

Latest from Real Estate, Land Use & Environmental Law Blog

On September 15, 2020, the Army Corps of Engineers published proposed revisions to a wide range of Nationwide Permits (NWP) issued under the Clean Water Act.  The revisions respond to Executive Order 13783, directing heads of federal agencies to review existing regulations that potentially burden development or use of domestically produced energy resources.  Accordingly, the proposed revisions affect NWPs commonly utilized by utility-scale wind and solar energy projects throughout the country.  The Corps will accept comments on the proposed revisions until November 16, 2020.  Here are highlights from the proposed revisions.…
The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (“OEHHA”) recently proposed a regulation that would provide more certainty to businesses regarding the Proposition 65 (“Prop 65”) warning requirements for cooked foods.  The proposed regulation is intended to incentivize businesses to lower the concentration levels in foods, encourage consistency and predictability, and ensure that warnings will be given for the foods causing the highest levels of exposure.…
After a nearly two-year wait, in Protecting Our Water and Environmental Resources v. County of Stanislaus (2020) __ Cal.5th ____ (POWER), the California Supreme Court unanimously rejected the County of Stanislaus’s (County) bright-line categorization that all groundwater well construction permits are ministerial, and therefore not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  In an interesting twist, the Supreme Court also rejected the petitioner’s alternative “all or nothing” position that, if the permits are not ministerial, they must be discretionary and conditioned on CEQA compliance.  Instead, the Supreme Court held the decision of whether each permit is ministerial or discretionary…
This article originally appeared in the California Lawyers Association’s Real Property, Environmental and Public Law Journals Joint Issue. As society responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, states and local governments across the United States, including the State of California, issued shelter-in place (“SIP”) orders[i] to prevent its spread. While intended to benefit Americans in the long run, these actions have resulted in massive and largely unprecedented disruptions in the economy, including record levels of unemployment and sharply limiting the ability of businesses to provide, and customers to purchase, goods and services.[ii] The effects of the pandemic are wide spread…
In Granny Purps v. County of Santa Cruz, the Sixth District Court of Appeal green-lit a medical cannabis cultivator’s ability to pursue damages – to the tune of potentially $3.5M – from the County of Santa Cruz when it determined the County cannot rely on zoning ordinance to seize the cultivator’s plants grown in violation of local regulation. Specifically, the Sixth District found that, while the County is not compelled to return seized property if the property is illegal, the local ordinance at issue “ultimately regulates land use within the County; it does not (nor could it) render illegal a…
California’s Proposition 13 prevents the assessed value of California real property from increasing by more than 2% per year, unless there is a change of ownership or completion of new construction.  On November 3, 2020, California voters will decide whether most commercial and industrial property should be removed from the protections of Proposition 13, with the result that such property would be subject to tax based on its fair market value.…
The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) recently published a final rule (Rule) revising the implementing regulations for the National Environmental Quality Act (42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq ) (NEPA).  Touted as the first comprehensive revision of CEQ’s NEPA regulations since their creation in 1978, the stated goal of the Rule includes facilitating more efficient, effective, and timely NEPA review by federal agencies.…
In a decision that could save some commercial property owners hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes, the Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District of California held in 731 Market Street Owner, LLC v. City and County of San Francisco (Cal. Ct. App., June 18, 2020, No. A154369) that the City and County of San Francisco cannot impose a documentary transfer tax on the value of an assigned landlord-interest in a lease when the lease has a remaining term of at least 35 years.  The 35-year cutoff considers both the remaining initial term of the lease and unused…
Today, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio announced the long-awaited date for the City’s land use process (the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, or ULURP) to be officially restarted with the City Planning Commission’s first public review session scheduled for August 3, 2020 and the first public hearing scheduled for August 5, 2020.  All meetings , including Community Board, Borough President and the City Council, will take place virtually until further notice.  Information on public hearing schedules for the City Planning Commission, and how to participate in public hearings can be found at NYC Engage.…
The California legislature is gearing up to adopt major real estate development incentives intended to boost the economy in the wake of COVID-19.  The recent outbreaks and general constraints on travel have compressed the state’s legislative Fall calendar.  Thus, leaders from both chambers have directed their members to prioritize policy proposals.  Finding ways to increase housing production, especially affordable housing, is emerging as the focus.…
At the end of June, in Hill RHF Housing Partners, L.P. v. City of Los Angeles, the Court of Appeal upheld the trial court’s denial of a challenge to the City of Los Angeles’s June 2017 establishment of the Downtown Center Business Improvement District (DCBID) and the San Pedro Historic Waterfront Business Improvement District (SPBID) (collectively, the LA BIDs), on the ground that the petitioners failed to exhaust administrative remedies – a jurisdictional prerequisite before seeking judicial review.  While the requirement for petitioners to exhaust administrative remedies is not new, Hills RHF Housing Partners, L.P. applied this well-established doctrine…
A recent California Appellate Court decision provided tenants with additional protections when it clarified that local rent control laws applied to a single-family home in which the landlord[1] rented rooms in the home to separate tenants despite the landlord’s belief that single-family homes were excepted from rent control laws. Specifically, in Owens v. City of Oakland Housing, Residential Rent and Relocation Board (“Owens”), Division Three of the First District of the California Court of Appeal clarified that the landlord’s argument that an exception to local rent control laws found in the Costa-Hawkins Housing Act (“Costa-Hawkins”) did not apply.…
On March 22, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order that closed all non-essential businesses in New York State (the “Order”).  In connection with the Order, New York City restaurants were forced to reduce their operations to pick-up and delivery only.  On June 8, 2020, New York City entered into Phase I of the New York State reopening plan.  It is anticipated that sometime between June 22, 2020 and the beginning of July, 2020, New York City will enter into Phase II.  During Phase II, restaurants will not be allowed to serve patrons indoors, but will be permitted to commence…
The New York City Department of Sanitation (“DSNY”) is proposing to amend its existing sanitation rules to require new and converted buildings classified as multiple dwelling buildings having 300 or more dwelling units to provide an enclosed “Waste Containerization System” that would support a garbage truck entering a building to pick up waste.  The purported goal of the proposed rule is to limit the large piles of garbage bags that are placed curbside on narrow sidewalks, accessible to rodents and other pests.…
On April 6, 2020, the California State Judicial Council adopted Emergency Rule 9 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.[1]  As originally approved, the rule tolled the statute of limitations for all civil causes of action from April 6, 2020 until 90 days after the Governor lifts the current State of Emergency Declaration related to the COVID-19 pandemic.…