Voters in two small towns rejected development during special elections in April. Voters in the San Gabriel Valley city of Sierra Madre approved a referendum that requires projects of a certain size in downtown to go before voters. Meanwhile, voters in the Solano County city of Dixon rejected a proposed horse track and entertainment facility.
Both elections were close, and the land use battles in both cities appear far from over. The balloting may provide cautionary tales for planners, as both elections occurred after lengthy planning processes.
For at least the third time in two years, litigation filed by housing advocates has resulted in a court order or settlement for hundreds of affordable housing units. The latest city to get hit with a judgment is Brea, whose redevelopment agency was ordered to produce 208 units of low- and very low-income housing by June 2012.
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.
A state appellate court has upheld the City of Gilroy's housing element against a challenge filed by affordable housing advocates. The court ruled that, under the housing element law in effect when Gilroy updated its housing plan in 2002, the city did not have to provide a site-specific inventory and analysis.
WASHINGTON _ Home builders are hoping that the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that could broaden the impact of the federal Endangered Species Act on residential and commercial construction.
LOS ANGELES _ The California Supreme Court has heard oral arguments in two unrelated land use cases that could have profound impacts for planners, developers and property owners.One case involves a City of Hanford zoning ordinance that restricts who may sell furniture; the second case concerns whether an airport land use compatibility plan is subject to environmental review. The court heard oral arguments in both cases on the same day in early April. Decisions are due by July 3.
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.