Real Estate, Land Use & Environmental Law Blog

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

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the “Service”) published a proposed rule listing the tricolored bat as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). The tricolored bat occurs in portions of 39 states, including Texas, Iowa, and Oklahoma, which contain a significant concentration of utility-scale wind projects. In combination with the Service’s proposed “endangered” designation for the northern long-eared bat, the new proposed rule could complicate wind energy project permitting across the country.
Continue Reading U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Listing Tricolored Bat as Endangered Under Endangered Species Act

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took an important step toward regulating PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) on September 6, 2022 when it published a Notice of Federal Rulemaking to begin the process of listing two PFAS as hazardous substances under Section 102(a) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, also known as the “Superfund” law). Specifically, perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), both of which have been identified as health hazards since 2016, are being reviewed. Comments on the proposal are due by October 6, 2022. 
Continue Reading PFAS As Hazardous Substances: Top 5 Implications For Businesses

Offshore wind development off the California coast took another step closer to reality on August 10, 2022 with the California Energy Commission’s release of a report setting maximum feasible capacity and megawatt goals for 2030 and 2045. The report constitutes a milestone in the planning process prescribed by AB 525, which requires that the Commission “evaluate and quantify the maximum feasible capacity of offshore wind to achieve reliability, ratepayer, employment, and decarbonization benefits” for 2030 and 2045.
Continue Reading California Energy Commission Releases Milestone Offshore Wind Energy Report and Sets Maximum Feasible Capacity and Megawatt Planning Goals for 2030 and 2045

A bill that would have made development and expansion of warehouse and logistics projects more difficult in the Inland Empire has stalled out in the present legislative session. Assembly Bill 2840 passed the State Assembly earlier this year, but failed to make it out of the Senate Governance and Finance Committee at the hearing on June 29, 2022. While the bill may be down, do not count it out. In fact, AB 2840’s author, Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gómez Reyes, is expected to renew her efforts next year to get the potentially de facto moratorium legislation enacted.
Continue Reading E-Commerce Development Boom or Bust? Potential Setbacks for Warehouse Development in Inland Empire on Hold for Now

The group of chemicals known as PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) are high on the federal regulatory agenda for 2022, as implementation of EPA’s “PFAS Strategic Roadmap” proceeds. One potential consequence will be new additions to California’s “Prop 65 List” of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive harm. Already, two PFAS substances are subject to Prop 65 warning and labeling requirements (PFOA and PFOS), with a third (PFNA) subject to enforcement starting in 2023. New federal Health Advisory Levels (HALs) announced on June 15, 2022 may provide the basis to add another two PFAS to the list (PFBS and GenX).
Continue Reading PFAS Regulations Could Open Floodgates to Prop 65 Enforcement – Assess & Manage Your Exposure Now

On December 4, 2019, the Los Angeles City Council adopted Ordinance No. 186477 which prohibits a “restricted developer” or “principal” from making contributions to the Mayor, City Attorney, City Councilmember, a candidate from one of these offices, or a City committee controlled by one of these individuals (“Restricted City Officials”), effective June 8, 2022. The contribution ban applies from the date the application of a significant planning entitlement is submitted to the City of Los Angeles Planning Department, and ends 12 months after the Letter of Determination for the project is issued, or the date the decision on the application is
Continue Reading City of Los Angeles Developer Contribution Ban Goes Into Effect

On March 11, 2022, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) proposed reverting the definition of “prevailing wage” under the Davis-Bacon Act to a definition used over 40 years ago. According to the DOL, the proposal is meant to modernize the law and “reflect better the needs of workers in the construction industry and planned federal construction investments.”[1]
Continue Reading Turning Back the Clock: DOL Proposes Previous Davis-Bacon Prevailing Wage Definition

In Save the Hill Group v. City of Livermore et al., the First District Court of Appeal (Div. 5) reversed and remanded the superior court’s decision to uphold the reissued final environmental impact report (RFEIR) for a development project with 44 single-family homes located in a residentially-zoned grassland area, called Garavanta Hills, near the Garaventa Wetlands Preserve.  In doing so, the Court held that the analysis for the “no project” alternative was inadequate because it failed to disclose and evaluate the possibility of using existing mitigation funding to make the no-project alternative feasible.  While the superior court agreed that
Continue Reading Court of Appeal Holds No-Project Alternative Analysis May Mean More When Conservation is an Option and Reinforces Low Barrier to Entry Under the Exhaustion Doctrine

On March 31, 2022, the California legislature approved Assembly Bill (AB) 2179, extending the state’s eviction moratorium through June 30, 2022 for certain tenants who have applied for rental assistance on or before March 31, 2022.  This latest extension was passed in response to significant delays reported by both the state and local jurisdictions related to the processing of applications and disbursements of rent relief payments.[1]
Continue Reading Some Renters Protected Under California’s Extended Eviction Moratorium

For many in the cannabis industry, April 1, 2022 is seen as a day of reckoning following the July 2021 passage of Assembly Bill 141 and Senate Bill 160 (collectively, the Cannabis Trailer Bill).  In an attempt to transition to an annual licensure program, April 1st marked the beginning of the end for provisional cannabis licensure.  It also ushered in significant changes to renewal process for previously granted provisional licenses.  These modifications now require applicants to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (Pub. Res. Code §§ 21000 et seq.) (CEQA), a complex statewide policy of environmental protection fraught with
Continue Reading No April Fools: Starting April 1st, Cannabis Operators Face CEQA Compliance Requirements for State Licenses

Propy has announced that the second U.S. NFT-backed property (see our blog about the first NFT sale here in which we discussed blockchain technology, and specifically how the sale works) is set to be auctioned, with a starting price of 185,000 USDC. USDC is a stablecoin backed by the United States Dollar (we previously discussed stablecoins here).
Continue Reading The Second U.S. NFT Property Is Ready To be Auctioned

In a case potentially overshadowed by the California Supreme Court’s same-day denial to hear a request to stay a cap on student admissions at UC Berkeley,[1] the Second Appellate District Court (Div. 2) issued its opinion in Crenshaw Subway Coalition v. City of Los Angeles.  This decision found, in effect, that the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) and its State law counterpart, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), do not protect established minority-majority communities against displacement due to gentrification.
Continue Reading Challenge to Housing and Revitalization Project Found Not Cognizable under the Fair Housing Act and California Fair Employment and Housing Act

As current supply chain issues continue to threaten the U.S. photovoltaic solar industry, solar module suppliers, manufacturers, renewable energy developers and utilities alike face great uncertainty surrounding the immediate future of the solar module supply market. The bottom-line is that supply chain issues are increasing shipping and equipment costs for solar cells and panels, however, there are several independent factors that are working together to drive this surge in pricing and constrained market. These factors include the following:
Continue Reading Making Sense of the Solar Supply Chain Issues

In Citizens’ Committee to Complete the Refuge et al. v. City of Newark et al., the First District Court of Appeal (Div. 4) found the California Environmental Quality Act did not require subsequent or supplemental environmental review for the City of Newark’s approval of a 469‑lot residential subdivision project.  Instead, the court affirmed the City’s use of Government Code section 65457’s CEQA exemption for projects consistent with a “specific plan” for which a environmental impact report (EIR) was previously certified.
Continue Reading Petitioners Failed to Show Subdivision Consistent With a Specific Plan EIR Was Outside the Scope of a Statutory Exemption

On February 10, 2022, the first NFT-based property was bought through an auction on Propy, a blockchain-focused real estate company. The Florida home was sold for $653,163 worth of Ether, and the home’s property rights were minted as an NFT on the blockchain as a digital representation of ownership over the physical real estate. (See our previous blogs about NFTs here and here). This is significant for many reasons and has the potential to significantly disrupt the way that the real estate industry has historically functioned. As mentioned below, while other real estate transactions have already occurred utilizing
Continue Reading Blockchain Technology Is Changing The Real Estate Industry