The state Supreme Court has granted a petition for review of a case involving a city's utility user's tax. Six of seven justices voted to review Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. City of La Habra, 1999 Daily Journal D.A.R. 9003, in which the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that the statute of limitations had elapsed for challenging the tax. (See CP&DR Legal Digest, October 1999.)
Lawyers on either side of the case had expected the state's high court would take the case because the decision conflicted with a 1997 ruling by the same appellate division.
The case stems from the La Habra City Council's decision in December of 1992 to levy a tax based on utility use. Jarvis argued that Proposition 62 from 1986 required that such taxes have voter approval. The appellate court ruled that the three-year statute of limitations expired before Jarvis filed its lawsuit in March of 1996.
Jarvis relied heavily on McBrearty v. City of Brawley, 59 Cal.App.4th, 1441, a similar local tax case. In McBrearty, the court said a three-year statute of limitations was not in effect because the state Supreme Court did not rule that local taxes levied without voter approval were illegal until after the three years had expired. In the La Habra case, the court said the McBrearty decision was "flawed."
The court also rejected a Jarvis argument that the three-year statute of limitations began with the first implementation of the tax in May of 1993, not with the City Council's adoption of the tax in December 1992. And the court turned away Jarvis' contention that the three-year statute is renewed every time the city collects the tax.
Dozens of cities and counties have similar taxes that have been levied without voter approval.
An appellate court has thrown out an environmental impact report for a 17,000-acre-foot water project in El Dorado County because the EIR was predicated on an unadopted, draft general plan. In the same far-reaching opinion, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled that the purchase of three reservoirs by an irrigation district was not categorically exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act because the district planned to provide the water for consumption, which would have been a new use.
The Second District Court of Appeal has thrown out the results of an election in the City of Sierra Madre because the city violated the California Environmental Quality Act.
In a December 1999 decision, the court invalidated an April 1998 election in which voters approved a city-sponsored measure that removed 29 properties from the city's Register of Historic Landmarks. City officials put the issue on the ballot as a way of avoiding a study of the impacts of delisting the properties. But the court sai...
The City of Montclair's ordinance controlling rents in mobile home parks is constitutional, the Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled. The court rejected mobile home park owners' argument that the ordinance was a regulatory taking without compensation.
Citing the California Supreme Court's decision in Santa Monica Beach, Ltd. v. Superior Court, (1999) 19 Cal.4th 952, the appellate court ruled that "a rent control ordinance is a regulatory taking if it is an arbitrary regulation of property rights....
Construction of a 130-foot-tall cellular telephone transmission tower does not constitute inverse condemnation of a neighboring property from which residents can see the tower, the Third District Court of Appeal has ruled.
In a case from Butte County, the court also ruled that the tower did not constitute a nuisance because it did not harm neighbors' use of their property.
"[W]hile we have sympathy for plaintiffs' plight, not all plights give rise to legal rights," Justice Daniel Kolkey wrote for th...
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.