When voters in Tracy approved an annual "cap" on new housing construction last November, it was the first time since the late 1980s that a California municipality enacted this venerable — yet controversial — method of restricting growth. After grinding through 1,000 to 1,500 residential building permits annually for the last several years, the San Joaquin County commuter town will now have to restrict itself to 750 permits in any one year — and an annual average of 600.
The California Supreme Court has dealt a setback to property rights advocates and outlined a new standard for proving that a government agency violated a property owner's federal due process rights. On a 5-2 decision, the court held that a landlord who is subject to a mobilehome rent control ordinance can receive compensation under the federal Civil Rights Act (42 U.S.C. Section 1983) only if the government deliberately flouts the law.
It seems natural, at first glance, that Long Beach would want to promote its waterfront as a resort destination. The city has miles of continuous oceanfront in a region that is starved for open views of the Pacific. Yet efforts to create a visitor-friendly waterfront have been a protracted agony of collapsed hopes and stalled-out development projects.
The California Supreme Court in February heard oral arguments in a California Environmental Quality Act case for the first time since 1997. But members of the court gave few indications of how they would rule in the case, which centers on the lack of an environmental review for a city-sponsored ballot measure.
Justices peppered attorneys on either side of Friends of Sierra Madre v. City of Sierra Madre, No. S085088, with questions throughout the hour-long proceedings in Sacramento. Afterward,
A public agency that loses an inverse condemnation case must pay all reasonable legal costs that the property owner incurred, even if there is a second round of litigation, the Second District Court of Appeal has ruled. The decision came in a case in which the Hawaiian Gardens Redevelopment Agency delayed payment of litigation expenses and then refused to pay later costs incurred by the owners of an automobile dealership.
With electricity in California in short supply during recent months, it is easy to overlook the boom in power plant construction that has already started. Since April 1999, the California Energy Commission has approved nine plants capable of increasing the state's generating capacity by 12%. And, the commission is reviewing 14 more proposals that would add another 12% to the state's generating abilities, bringing the capacity to about 67,000 megawatts.
The owner of a commercial building and billboard next to a freeway could not avoid state prohibitions against off-site advertising simply by leasing office space to the advertisers, the First District Court of Appeal has ruled. The court held that the Outdoor Advertising Act (Bus. & Prof. Code § 5200 et. seq.) prohibited the billboard's use for promoting commercial enterprises that were clearly undertaken elsewhere.
George Lucas' movie production company and the Presidio Trust are close to signing a lease that will allow Lucas to construct a large office complex inside the national park in San Francisco. Finalization of the lease this spring would be a major advancement in a process that has involved a great deal of planning, political maneuvering and bickering over protection of historical resources at one of San Francisco's most treasured sites.