The U.S. Supreme Court will decide a case in which Lake Tahoe property owners allege that a temporary building moratorium amounted to an unconstitutional taking.
The Supreme Court likely will hear oral arguments this fall in Tahoe Sierra Preservation Council, Inc. v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 00-1167. The court agreed to consider only one question from the multi-faceted case: "Whether the Court of Appeals properly determined that a temporary moratorium on land development does not constitute a taking of property requiring compensation under the Takings Clause of the United States Constitution?"
The Tahoe Sierra Preservation Council has been in litigation against TRPA, a bi-state agency that oversees development in the Tahoe Basin, since the 1980s. But the Preservation Council, which represents about 450 property owners, has lost four separate rounds at the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Last year, the Ninth Circuit ruled, among other things, that a 32-month building moratorium which TRPA imposed while adopting a regional plan was not a taking. The Ninth Circuit panel called a temporary moratorium a "crucial planning mechanism." Landowners had argued the moratorium was a taking because it denied "all economically beneficial or productive use of land" while it was in effect.
The landowners asked for a rehearing before the whole Ninth Circuit. Five judges voted to hear the case, which was not enough for reconsideration. That caused conservative Judge Alex Kozinski to pen a sharp dissent in which he said the three-judge panel that ruled in the case had overturned the First English precedent that established the concept of "temporary takings." First English Evangelical Lutheran Church v. County of Los Angeles, 482 U.S. 304 (1987).
The Ninth Circuit's ruling was a major victory not only for TRPA, but for a large number of government entities that submitted amicus briefs in the case. A contrary ruling would make government agencies liable for imposing a building moratorium, which would harm good planning, the agencies argued.
A Clinton-era Interior Department policy that delayed endangered species petitions filed by the public has been thrown out by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The unanimous three-judge panel agreed with environmentalists who said the policy improperly stalled consideration of plants and animals that could qualify for protected status.
An environmental group that sued the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection over environmental review of a North Coast timber harvest lost its chance to pursue the lawsuit because it did not request a hearing within a prescribed deadline.
A developer who lost his ownership interest in a piece of property had no standing to seek a court order forcing a county to recognize a 19th century subdivision of the property, the Second District Court of Appeal has ruled. A unanimous three-judge panel of the Second District, Division Six, overturned a trial court's writ of administrative mandamus in the case.
A city resolution restricting parking on certain residential streets to residents with parking permits was categorically exempt from environmental review, the Second District Court of Appeal has ruled.
An exemption to the California Environmental Quality Act for construction of a sea wall below two houses has been upheld by the Fourth District Court of Appeal. The court ruled that the potential collapse of a bluff could threaten public safety and qualified for an emergency exemption under CEQA.
In a case that touched on redevelopment law, the California Environmental Quality Act and general plan compatibility, an appellate court has upheld San Francisco's handling of a project on the site of the historic Emporium department store.
The City of Los Angeles was correct to treat as one project a builder's various proposals for 21 new houses on existing parcels on two streets, the Second District Court of Appeal has ruled. The court rejected the builder's contention that the city could not demand an environmental impact report on the 21 houses, five of which have already been built.
Opponents of a proposed recycling center were too late in filing a lawsuit regarding a city's failure to prepare an environmental study on the city's sale of land to the recycling company, the Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled.
When a public agency acquires a property via eminent domain, only a trial court judge -- and not a jury -- can decide whether a business should receive compensation for loss of goodwill, a state appellate court has ruled.
The California Coastal Commission's decision to allow Malibu property owners who are building new houses to exchange existing public view corridors on their property for dedication of an off-site public access to the beach has been upheld by the Second District Court of Appeal.