The state Supreme Court will review an appellate court ruling that subdivision maps recorded prior to the first version of the Subdivision Map Act in 1893 do not create legal parcels. In January, all seven of the state's high court justices voted to review the decision in Gardner v. County of Sonoma (see CP&DR Legal Digest, November).
The ruling on the validity of a lot map from 1865 was the clearest decision ever on the legal standing of antiquated subdivisions. The First District Court of Appeal found that the grandfather provision of the Subdivision Map Act did not apply to pre-1893 maps.
"The Legislature intended the grandfather clause to apply to subdivisions approved under prior versions of the Act, i.e., to exempt from the current Act those subdivisions established in compliance with or exempt from laws then in effect," the court held. "The Legislature, with its strenuous emphasis on local control and approval of subdivisions, did not intend the grandfather clause to apply to the pre-1893 legal ‘State of Nature' when no subdivision statute was in existence."
Planners and landowners have disagreed for years over the validity of "paper subdivisions." Planners argue that that recognizing the parcels now would be unfair and would hamper good development practices. An estimated 1 million paper lots exist in California. Some of those parcels are as small as 1,250 square feet. Many were created with no provisions for access and without consideration of topography. Still, landowners contend the lots were legitimately created under rules in effect at the time and government officials cannot ignore recorded maps.
The state Supreme Court has not yet set a date for oral arguments. The case is Gardner v. County of Sonoma, No. S102249. It was originally published on October 11, 2001 at 01 C.D.O.S. 8793, and 2001 DJDAR 10909.
Although they cannot be false and misleading, ballot arguments need not be relevant, the Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled. The panel issued its opinion in a lawsuit challenging the title of, and ballot arguments for, a City of Huntington Beach measure on the March ballot that would impose a tax on a power plant.
An Orange County ballot initiative that sought to block the development of a civilian airport at the closed El Toro Marine Corps Air Station has been thrown out by a state appellate court. The court ruled that Measure F from March 2000 interfered with essential governmental functions, crossed the line into administrative activities, and was vague.
The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review an endangered species decision in a California case handled by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The Supreme Court's decision, issued in mid-January, means that the appellate court opinion upholding the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services listing of four species of fairy shrimp that live in California as either endangered or threatened will stand.
A city resolution restricting parking on certain residential streets to residents with parking permits was categorically exempt from environmental review, the Second District Court of Appeal has ruled.
An exemption to the California Environmental Quality Act for construction of a sea wall below two houses has been upheld by the Fourth District Court of Appeal. The court ruled that the potential collapse of a bluff could threaten public safety and qualified for an emergency exemption under CEQA.
In a case that touched on redevelopment law, the California Environmental Quality Act and general plan compatibility, an appellate court has upheld San Francisco's handling of a project on the site of the historic Emporium department store.
The City of Los Angeles was correct to treat as one project a builder's various proposals for 21 new houses on existing parcels on two streets, the Second District Court of Appeal has ruled. The court rejected the builder's contention that the city could not demand an environmental impact report on the 21 houses, five of which have already been built.
Opponents of a proposed recycling center were too late in filing a lawsuit regarding a city's failure to prepare an environmental study on the city's sale of land to the recycling company, the Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled.
When a public agency acquires a property via eminent domain, only a trial court judge -- and not a jury -- can decide whether a business should receive compensation for loss of goodwill, a state appellate court has ruled.
The California Coastal Commission's decision to allow Malibu property owners who are building new houses to exchange existing public view corridors on their property for dedication of an off-site public access to the beach has been upheld by the Second District Court of Appeal.