Now that the smoke has cleared from last fall’s Southern California firestorms, one might assume that fire protection experts and elected leaders are busy working on methods to ensure that developments in fire hazard areas are better protected. That assumption, however, is only partly true.
In a 2-1 decision with a vigorous dissent, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the State of Oregon’s law regulating billboards.
The law prohibits new billboards except for "on-premises signs." An Oregon resident said the law violated his First Amendment rights by favoring businesses. But the court concluded the law passed the content-neutrality standard.
In a decision with separate opinions written by all three members of an appellate panel, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a preliminary injunction to block logging on burnt national forest land.
The panel ruled 2-1 that opponents of the logging had crossed the threshold necessary to win a preliminary injunction while the litigation proceeds. Environmentalists contended that the U.S. Forest Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Forest Management Act.
The City of San Jose did not have to prepare a supplemental environmental impact report for the proposed expansion of a water recycling program because an earlier EIR adequately addressed the issues, the Sixth District Court of Appeal has ruled.
The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by a citizens group and the Great Oaks Water Company. They opposed a proposed nine-mile-long main that would carry up to 15 million gallons per day of treated wastewater to North Coyote Valley for use as recycled water.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California finished filling its new reservoir, Diamond Valley Lake, last year, and the giant body of water opened for public boating and angling last fall. Even though those events capped a decade of planning, engineering and construction in the western Riverside County desert, the Met is far from finished at Diamond Valley Lake.
The agency plans to build about $20 million worth of recreational and educational facilities near the reservoir in the near term.
The federal Clean Air Act requires new factories and power plants to use the "best available control technology" to limit air pollution, but generally lets states determine what specific systems satisfy the law.
But in a closely divided decision issued in late January, the usually states rights-minded high court sided with the feds and upheld EPA’s authority to override state environmental regulators.
To many urban planners, the "mixed-use" development project is a kind of Holy Grail, a development that combines residential units with commercial space into one seamless project where people can both live and work. Although other ideas are also important to planners seeking to create urban-style places — specifically, higher-density housing and development oriented around transit stops – the mixed-use concept often seems the most compelling.
Landscapes, like human bodies, have histories, and sometimes those histories can leave scars. The difference between a human body and a city is that a city has a longer life.
The demise of the regional mall, at least the old malls from the 1950s and ’60s, will leave behind scars. These injuries will be hard to heal because they are enormous.
The California Supreme Court has accepted a second case involving the application of coastal zone requirements. In January, the court voted to review a case in which the Second District Court of Appeal ruled that a state law requiring coastal zone developers to provide affordable units did not apply to a project in which all new houses would be located outside the zone.
An appellate court has overturned the City of Los Angeles’s approval of a variance that allowed the expansion of a nonconforming use. The court determined that a proposal to expand a gas station located in a residential zone did not meet the city’s criteria for a variance.
Specifically, the Second District Court of Appeal found that there was no evidence that imposing existing zoning requirements would create a hardship for the landowner or business owner — a requirement for a variance.