The Coastal Commission had the authority to order removal of a private, three-hole golf course that violated development permit conditions, even though the course was in place for 18 years before the Commission took action, the Sixth District Court of Appeal has ruled.
Land use politics in Monterey County reached a new level of chaos in early June, when voters cast ballots on four land use measures but apparently resolved nothing. Voters provided conflicting direction on a general plan update adopted by the county, rejected a slow-growth general plan initiative, and overturned county approval of an 1,100-unit housing development.
Little appears to have happened since local government organizations and their supporters rolled out an eminent domain reform package that they said would protect homeowners and small businesses from government abuse. The May 21 announcement from the California Redevelopment Association and the League of California Cities got extensive press coverage, and the proposed legislation won plaudits from several newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. A number of business and environmental groups said they would support the measures.
With the passage of $42 billion in bonds last November, infrastructure spending has risen to the top of the state Legislature's agenda. More than 60 bills attempt to allocate portions of the money or establish criteria for spending the funds, according to the California Budget Project. Still, there is plenty of legislative activity surrounding other planning and development staples, including housing, the California Environmental Quality Act, flood control and economic development.
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a district court ruling that strikes down San Diego County's ordinance regulating the location and appearance of cell phone antennas and other wireless facilities.
As the popularity of inclusionary zoning for affordable housing has grown, so has the number of cities and counties who have a stake in affordable homeownership problems. Experts in those programs, however, warn that they are fraught with dangers and require extensive monitoring to ensure that units remain affordable.
For the first time in 12 years, the Democrats are in charge of Congress. That ought to mean there is a long wish list somewhere regarding domestic policy issues, including issues associated with planning and development.
So far, we haven't seen much publicity on domestic policy – the Democrats, as more than a few media outlets have observed, are more interested in investigation than legislation. But as the congressional session unfolds, it won't be long before the new majority begins to focus on the two major federal policy levers that affect land use – the Big Carrot of transportation funding and the Big Stick of environmental regulation. In each case, a crisis appears to be forcing Congress's hand.
In issuing its second California Environmental Quality Act ruling in seven months, the conservative-leaning California Supreme Court is emerging as one of CEQA's staunchest defenders. The latest decision - the rejection of an environmental impact report's water analysis for a large Sacramento-area housing project - is the court's first foray into such water studies, and the court appears to have set a high standard. >>read more
Monterey County General Plan faces voter approval, a controversial Carmel Valley subdivision is back in court after EIR rejection 6 years ago, flood control in Sacramento continues to evolve, and dry cleaners in San Francisco pay for brownfeild clean up. >>read more
Only two months after voters rejected Proposition 90, new proposals to alter eminent domain law are already arising. Anti-tax activists, environmentalists, local government organizations and state lawmakers are all working on eminent domain proposals, and it is likely that voters will see at least one ballot measure on the subject during the 2008 primary. It is also possible that voters will decide on another regulatory takings initiative. >>read more