The California Supreme Court has agreed to review an appellate ruling that Priceline, Expedia, Travelocity and similar "online travel companies" (OTCs) did not have to pay San Diego hotel tax on income they derived using a "merchant model" approach to marketing local hotel rooms. The Second District ruled that if an OTC contracts with a hotel for a block of rooms at a fixed wholesale rate, and then retails them to guests at higher prices, then city hotel tax is due only on the wholesale rate, not the difference the OTC receives.
Fresh from its major Atherton win (see Bill Fulton's writeup at http://www.cp-dr.com/node/3540), the High-Speed Rail Authority won another key ruling July 31 that upheld the validity of its authorization to issue bonds for the project and said the project's preliminary funding plan did not need to be redone.
California's Fourth Appellate District on Friday struck down a special hotel tax that San Diego hotel operators had willingly imposed on themselves, as members of an unusually defined special district, to raise money for the city's convention center expansion. The court ruled that the tax required a two-thirds citywide popular vote for approval.
Under Proposition 13 as broadened in 1996 by Proposition 218, special taxes must be approved by a two-thirds vote of "the qualified electors" of the affected district, also expressed as "the electorate" of the district.
The Governor’s Office of Planning & Research is a month late in issuing its final recommendation on whether to replace “level of service” as the measurement of significant transportation impacts in transit priority areas under the California Environmental Quality Act. But there’s not much mystery: OPR has sent clear signals that it is going to propose replacing LOS with vehicle miles traveled, or VMT.
CEQA's future has been in holding patterns across all California's branches of government this summer. But while big things are expected any day in the administrative or judicial branch, CEQA is a sore and sour subject in the Legislature.
In the latest decision on a long series of legal challenges by Peninsula cities and environment groups to the California High Speed Rail project, the Third District Court of Appeal has upheld the final programmatic environmental impact report for the portion of the project that calls for a route from the Central Valley over the Pacheco Pass into Bay Area suburbia.
California's Fifth Appellate District on July 3 upheld the Westlands Water District's 2012 interim renewal contracts for Central Valley Project water from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, finding the changes they represented were exempt from CEQA review sought by environmental groups.
The First District Court of Appeal has upheld the EIR supporting a $1.5 billion development plan for Treasure Island, the man-made former World's Fair site at the middle of the San Francisco Bay Bridge.
California's Fifth District Court of Appeal has issued a partial publication order for its June 30 decision upholding the EIR for a wind turbine farm in Kern County's Tehachapi Wind Resource Area.
Can planners find common ground with Tea Party and property rights activists on means even if they don’t agree on ends?By Dr. Karen Trapenberg Frick on 30 July 2014 - 12:46pm
This fall, California’s Strategic Growth Council will release a preliminary assessment about SB 375’s implementation to date. So now is a good time to step back and deeply reflect on how we are running public participation processes in this state, especially legislatively mandated ones. We need to consider how legislative requirements like those for the SB 375 regional planning process may help or hinder meaningful public engagement.
The Sierra Club's Marin Group of chapters brought a court challenge July 10 seeking to reverse the Coastal Commission's May approval of the Marin County Land Use Plan Update.
CP&DR News Summary, July 22, 2014: Walnut Creek starts on BART-focused specific plan; Fairfax and Mountain View activists have surprisingly different takes on housing;By Martha Bridegam on 22 July 2014 - 10:58am
Walnut Creek officially began preparation last month of a West Downtown Specific Plan focused on links between the city's BART station and downtown, with related attention to nearby major boulevards. The city's initial Notice of Preparation papers are at http://bit.ly/WAz7Wv.
Since our last discussion of architect Peter Zumthor’s proposed new design of the Los Angeles County Art Museum, aka the Black Hole on Wilshire Boulevard (see http://www.cp-dr.com/node/3442), several important events have taken place:
The Page Museum, which employs paleontologists to excavate bones of ancient mammals from tar pits that lie east of the museum, pointed out that the new museum would overlie several active research sites. Emergency IM to Switzerland: Mr. Z, your tar pit museum has become mired in the honest-to-God tar pits! Back to the drawing board!
November's local ballots aren't quite final; officials are still checking signatures on many petitions. But it's late enough in the season to have a sense of what's headed for a vote. (Especially in San Francisco and Santa Monica.) Here are some highlights of local measures likely to be on November ballots that are related to land use: [This article was revised July 29, mainly to reflect the compromise that is now likely to take two housing measures off San Francisco's local ballot.]
CP&DR News Summary, July 16, 2014: Water Board working on statewide waterway trash rules; Cal Supreme Court grants Newhall Ranch case review; San Diego housing fee compromise; Fresno General Plan draft; SF open space elementBy Martha Bridegam on 16 July 2014 - 10:04am
The State Water Resources Control Board is circulating a statewide version of proposed amendments to tighten existing statewide trash control rules. The proposals, released June 10, are at http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/trash_control/docume.... The proposal applies to all California surface waters except for the Los Angeles rivers and streams that, uniquely in the state, already have trash Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) standards for trash. Even those would be reconsidered under the statewide rules.