Cal Supremes Return Pool Hall Hours for New Review

The California Supreme Court has directed the Fourth District Court of Appeal to vacate a 1999 ruling in which the City of Riverside’s requirement that poolrooms be closed from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. was declared unconstitutional.

In January 1999, a Fourth District panel ruled 2-1 that the Riverside ordinance violated poolroom owners’ equal protection rights. (See CP&DR Legal Digest, March 1999.) The court said the city’s law, which the owner of Mr. Cue’s Family Billiards challenged, was "arbitrary an...

Orange County Flavors Plan for West Sacramento

I recently had one of those "aha!" moments that gives us special insight into the deeper nature of things. The magic moment came during a recent exercise in home buying, when I was fluttering back and forth between two different houses on two different streets. One house stood on a street with sidewalks and gutters, while the second house stood on an equally nice street, or nearly so, but without sidewalks.

I assumed that the house with sidewalks would cost more because of the added amenity. M...

Costly Options Presented to Remedy the Salton Sea

The Salton Sea is sometimes referred to as Southern California’s Lake Tahoe, and while efforts to save the northern lake took shape 20 years ago, officials only now are making big decisions about the future environmental health of the southern water body.

The Salton Sea (which is also sometimes called a lake) has been in a downward environmental spiral in recent years. Rising salinity, warnings about eating its fish, oxygen depleting algal blooms, and the deaths of thousands of birds and fish ...

Swap of Sales Tax for Property Tax Will Get Hearing: Assembly Speaker’s Commission, Others Support Finance Reform

A commission appointed by Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa has recommended local governments swap sales tax revenue for a bigger cut of property taxes. The proposal is one of several intended to reduce city and county dependence on sales tax. However, it remains unclear whether lawmakers and Gov. Davis will take meaningful steps toward altering the complex fiscal system this year.

It is a two-handed situation. On the one hand, recommendations of the Speaker’s Commission on State and Local G...

San Jose’s Montgomery Hotel: An Expensive Souvenir

The preservation of the Montgomery Hotel in the City of San Jose could be likened to a brick rescued from a burning house by its owners. By itself, the brick would have little or no value. As a souvenir of a vanished house, however, the brick becomes a treasured relic.

That analogy might help outsiders understand the rationale behind the extraordinary labor and expense that the San Jose Redevelopment Agency has devoted to saving what is, by all accounts, a handsome but rather ordinary buildin...

Failed Sale of Highway 91 Toll Lanes Refuels Debate

A proposed public bailout of the owner of Highway 91 toll lanes in Orange County has died amid allegations of financial improprieties. The experience with the 91 Express Lanes, which even privatization supporters call a "fiasco," appears to put a damper on what little interest remains in constructing private highways.

"This is not something that anyone should expect to become the dominant mode of highway building," said Marlon Boarnet, a University of California, Irvine, planning professor who ...

Proposition 218: State Supreme Court to Hear L.A. Apartment Tax Controversy

The California Supreme Court will decide a case involving the City of Los Angeles’s inspection fee on apartments. In December, five of seven justices voted to grant the petition from Los Angeles, which lost a Second District Court of Appeal ruling on a lawsuit filed by apartment owners. (See CP&DR Legal Digest, October 1999.)

The Los Angeles City Council approved the $12 annual inspection fee on each of the city’s approximately 750,000 apartments in July of 1998. The fee was intended to generat...

Clean Water Act: Citizens Can Sue Violators, U.S. Supreme Court Rules

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that citizens can sue alleged polluters under the Clean Water Act. The high court’s January decision in a case from South Carolina was a significant victory for environmentalists, who argue that the government sometimes does not adequately enforce the Clean Water Act and other environmental protection laws.

On a 7-2 vote, court ruled that Friends of the Earth (FOE) had standing to sue Laidlaw Environmental Services over the company’s violation of a National Poll...

Property Rights: Miners’ Rights on Public Land Gain Support in Ninth Circuit

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has sided with a miner in a feud between the miner and the U.S. Forest Service. In interpreting the Mining Law of 1872 and the 1955 Multiple Use Act, the court ruled that the Forest Service could not kick a miner off his claim in the Tonto National Forest, and that the Forest Service may not have had justification for increasing a reclamation bond requirement.

In an opinion that recounted the history of mining laws in the United States, Circuit Judge Andrew K...

Landowners Need the Final Answer Before Making Claim

Property owners who never filed a development application have no basis for a takings claim, the Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled. The court also said a landowner whose one application for a specific plan amendment that was rejected also has no takings argument.

The case arose from the City of San Diego’s lengthy planning process for the East Elliott community, a former Navy base that the federal government sold during the 1960s. As early as 1981, the city conceded that a 1971 East Ellio...

EIR Can Postpone Detailed Study of Related Road Project

An appellate court has ruled that an environmental impact report for a proposed San Diego County rock quarry was closer to acceptable than a trial judge had ruled, but the EIR still lacked a proper analysis of air quality impacts. The Fourth District Court of Appeal overturned San Diego Superior Court Judge Judith McConnell’s ruling that the rock quarry EIR improperly deferred study of highway widening, and that the EIR failed to account for prior illegal mining on the property. Still, the unanimou...

City Must Pay for Temporary Takings: L.A.’s Delay in Issuing Permit Earns Landowner $1.2 Million

Delays by the City of Los Angeles in issuing a permit to demolish a burned-out hotel amounted to a temporary taking, the Second District Court of Appeal has ruled. The unanimous three-judge appellate panel upheld a trial court’s ruling that awarded the landowner $1.2 million, plus interest, for the inverse condemnation.

The court upheld the trial court’s monetary award after concluding that the city’s delay in issuing the demolition permit was not part of the normal development review process, and...

Stanford Losing Land-Use Autonomy to County

Stanford University has proposed construction of about 3,000 housing units and 2 million square feet of academic and cultural facilities, offices and athletic structures. At the same time, Santa Clara County is exerting greater control over Stanford land use then ever before. Stanford — which owns 8,180 acres, two-thirds of which is open space — has submitted a draft Community Plan to the county. The document is more detailed than previous plans, something local government leaders and community ac...

Indian Wells donates housing money.

The wealthy City of Indian Wells will give $1.5 million in housing funds to the City of Coachella, a neighboring town where residents’ median income is less than one-third that of Indian Wells’ citizens. The money is a portion of the mandatory 20% housing set-aside from an Indian Wells redevelopment project, which transformed desert land into an upscale golf resort.

Indian Wells has spent $13.6 million in housing funds on 90 senior apartments and earmarked $14.6 million for 100 more senior units. The ...

Riverside County Integrates Three Planning Efforts: Land Use, Transportation and Habitat Planning are Combined

Faced with the possibility of adding another 1.5 million people during the next 20 years, Riverside County has embarked on an ambitious effort to plan for that growth. The Riverside County Integrated Plan seeks to combine land use, transportation, and habitat planning into one unified blueprint for growth.

County officials emphasize that the planning process does not seek to restrict growth. Rather, the goal of the process is to channel and accommodate new growth while meeting federal standards f...