The State Supreme Court decertified a Second District Court of Appeal opinion that overturned portions of Santa Monica's rent control law.
The appellate court ruled that Santa Monica could not modify conditions established by state law under which landlords can increase rents for voluntarily vacated units. The court also held that the city cannot demand more information than state law requires when registering rent-controlled units. (See CP&DR Legal Digest, June 2000.)
In reviewing the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act of 1995 (Civ. Code §1954.50), the court found that the state "fully occupied" the field of law governing the right of landlords to establish rental rates, whether or not the units are subject to rent control. Under Costa-Hawkins, a landlord can set initial and subsequent rental rates for new tenancies, even for units subject to rent control.
The ruling was a rare loss for Santa Monica, which has successfully defended one of the strictest rent control laws in the state for years. While the outcome of the case remains unchanged, affordable housing advocates applauded the state high court's decision, which means the case cannot be cited as precedent. The court issued its decertification order on August 23.
The case is Cabinda v. Santa Monica Rent Control Board, 80 Cal.App.4th 853, 2000 Daily Journal D.A.R. 4989.
A sharply divided three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld an environmental impact statement prepared for expansion of the Kahului Airport in Maui, Hawaii. The court majority ruled that the Federal Aviation Administration had taken the "hard look" at the project's impact on native habitat required by the National Environmental Policy Act, while a dissenting judge called the FAA's study inadequate and deceptive.
The FAA and the Hawaii Department of Transportation proposed repa...
Property rights advocates won a potentially far-reaching victory with a First District Court of Appeals ruling regarding San Francisco's hotel conversion ordinance. In a takings lawsuit filed by a hotel owner, the court held that the "heightened scrutiny" test applies to the San Francisco law, meaning there must be a close relationship between the exaction and the project's impact.
The court ruled that the lawsuit filed by owners of the San Remo Hotel should proceed in trial court. The hotel owners ar...
An appellate court has ruled against environmentalists in a California Environmental Quality Act lawsuit because the project in question was not approved and because environmentalists did not exhaust their administrative remedies.
In a peculiar case from Rancho Cucamonga, the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Two, ruled that the lawsuit brought by opponents of a 40-home subdivision was moot because the city denied the developer's design review application for a previously approved su...
In a major victory for developers of Playa Vista, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal has reinstated an Army Corps of Engineers permit to fill 16 acres of wetlands. The unanimous three-judge appellate panel overturned a district court ruling that the Corps did not adequately consider environmental impacts of the overall project.
The Ninth Circuit held that the Corps did not need to complete an environmental impact statement and that the Corps was correct to review only the wetlands portion o...
In an important water rights ruling, the state Supreme Court has held that farmers' long-standing water rights superceded water claims by downstream cities. The unanimous court ruled in favor of seven alfalfa and dairy farmers in the Mojave Valley that had refused to join a pact that allocated water to more than 200 farmers, cities and other entities without regard to historical water rights. "This preserves the farmers' position at basically the top of the water chain," Robert Dougherty, t...
Claims that Sacramento County violated the California Environmental Quality Act while approving a commercial development have been dismissed by the Third District Court of Appeal because the project opponent did not submit a written request for a hearing within 90 days of filing a lawsuit.
The attorney for opponent Forster-Gill, Inc., argued that a telephone call to the court clerk within the 90-day period was adequate, but the appellate court disagreed, ruling that the law "plainly contemplates a written request that can be, and is, filed with the court."
A state appellate court has upheld the California Coastal Commission's denial of a development permit for a small mixed-use project in Morro Bay.
The court rejected developer Dan Reddell's arguments that the commission violated his due process and equal protection rights, and that its decision was a regulatory taking of property. Instead, the Second District Court of Appeal ruled that substantial evidence supported the commission's finding that Reddell's project was inconsistent with Morro Bay's local coastal plan (LCP).
A state appellate court has thrown out an Inyo County general plan amendment that the county argued was nothing more than a clarification of a longstanding policy.
A unanimous three-judge panel of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Two, concluded that the amendment was more than a mere clarification and that the county should have completed an environmental impact report before approving the amendment.
A City of West Hollywood moratorium on new multi-family housing development has been declared invalid by the Second District Court of Appeal. The court ruled that the city had not made required findings for the moratorium.
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has set back a plan to develop the country's largest solid waste landfill near Joshua Tree National Park. The court ruled that the environmental analysis for the project was inadequate and that the Bureau of Land Management undervalued land it would provide to the landfill developer.
A state appellate court has struck down a California Environmental Quality Act exemption for an air district rule permitting new power plants to offset emissions by paving roads. The court found that the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District did not have adequate evidence to support its finding that the rule could not have a negative impact on the environment.
A developer is not entitled to reimbursement or damages from a consultant hired by a local government to complete an environmental impact report, the First District Court of Appeal has ruled. Even when the consultant fails to complete an EIR in a timely manner, the consultant owes no contractual duty to the developer that paid for the consultant, the court concluded.