San Joaquin County
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Citizens for Open Government v. City of Lodi involves the consolidation of three separate actions revolving around the City of Lodi’s approval of a conditional use permit (CUP) for a shopping center to be anchored by a Wal-Mart Supercenter.
A city may determine that a project has no significant effects on energy consumption if it exceeds the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards, the Third District Court of Appeal has ruled. The ruling appears to be the first on an environmental impact report’s analysis of how a project might affect energy use, an area of the California Environmental Quality Act receiving increased attention because of concerns about climate change.
The City of Patterson’s in-lieu affordable housing fee has been invalidated by the Fifth District Court of Appeal, which rejected the city’s methodology for setting the fee. Homebuilders celebrated the decision as a victory in their long fight to constrain development fees, while affordable housing advocates and municipal attorneys described the ruling as limited.
A former San Joaquin County political operative who was convicted of corruption in 2005 has had five of 17 guilty counts thrown out by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellate panel overturned counts of attempted extortion against Monte McFall but upheld conviction on 12 counts of extortion, mail fraud and witness tampering.
The City of Stockton had no right to take private property on which it later built a minor league baseball stadium, the Third District Court of Appeal has ruled. “This is a case of ‘condemn first, decide what to do with the property later,” Justice Kathleen Butz wrote for the unanimous three-judge appellate panel.
An irrigation district that provides wholesale electricity may not begin providing retail electric service without approval of the Local Agency Formation Commission, the Third District Court of Appeal has ruled.
In a related decision, the Third District also ruled that the irrigation district may not depose two members and the executive officer of the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) for the district’s lawsuit regarding denial of the retail electricity service application. Both decisions bolster the authority and integrity of LAFCOs.
A slew of land use issues are converging on Stockton, an older Central Valley city that is simultaneously struggling to revitalize its downtown and deal with a political environment that is both pro-growth and environmentally conscious.
Local governments in the Central Valley are starting to adopt policies that require developers to mitigate the conversion of farmland to urban uses, primarily by acquiring agricultural easements or paying in-lieu fees. San Joaquin County has become a hotbed for the new policies, and farmland advocates are hoping to export those policies to other places.
Can the entire San Joaquin Valley embrace the idea of regional planning – or at least agree on a common vision for how to accommodate future growth?
Correction. A story in the December edition regarding downtown Stockton contained two inaccuracies. Weber Point Event Center is 10 acres, not 17. Also, the 156 apartments for senior citizens on the upper floors of the Hotel Stockton have been filled since 2005.