Since the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, when the Environmental Protection Agency told a property owner to jump, in some cases the property owner's only possible response was "how high?" No so anymore.
Last month, in Sackett vs. Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling that places a limitation on how far the EPA can go to compel property owners to comply with the Clean Water Act.
The premise behind the categorical exemptions in the California Environmental Quality Act for infill and single-family projects is that projects in relatively dense, established urban areas are unlikely to create major impacts. According to a recent decision, this premise has its limits.
The definition of wetland would seem to be self-evident: wet land. If only it were that easy in California.
From vernal pools that slowly diminish in the Central Valley heat to brackish estuaries separating ocean from land, California's topography includes some of the most varied types of wetlands imaginable. Their numbers and varieties baffle that which governmental regulations such as the federal Clean Water Act describe.
The last time the American Planning Association held its national conference in Los Angeles, the Lakers were playing in Inglewood, the only trains to serve Union Station were Amtrak, and the only people who spent the night downtown were homeless or business travelers. Today, attendees of the 2012 APA National Conference - to be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center April 14-17 - will find everything from light rail to lofts to Staples Center. A lot has changed in Los Angeles since 1986.
With the American Planning Association National Conference arriving in Los Angeles tomorrow, it's likely that more planners than usual will not just be attending lectures and idly networking but rather will be actively, and sometimes desperately, trying to remain in the profession.