The California Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the state's "quick take" eminent domain process in which a public agency may take ownership of a property before a trial on final compensation for the property owner.
An appellate court has thrown out a property owners' lawsuit claiming that the Town of Tiburon's special assessment to pay for undergrounding utilities violated Proposition 218. The court ruled that the lawsuit was actually a "reverse validation action," and that the property owners failed to meet procedural deadlines.
The opponent of a proposed house on the Big Sur coast cannot challenge Monterey County's environmental review of the project because the Coastal Commission provided the ultimate decision on the project, the Sixth District Court of Appeal has ruled.
California courts are increasingly active in trying to clarify the question of when a government action becomes a "project" under the California Environmental Quality Act. Three recent appellate court rulings have turned on the answer to this question, and a fourth case involving a project definition is pending before the California Supreme Court. So far, however, the resulting picture is less than clear.
Placer County is finalizing its first land conservation plan, designed to keep 60,000 acres from being developed in the rapidly-growing region northeast of Sacramento. An initial conservation map for the western part of Placer County was adopted by the Board of Supervisors during late January, and a final map could be approved later this year.
Disney continues fight against housing project in Anaheim's resort district; the League of California Cities proposes eminent domain reform; San Francisco limits residential demolitions; Stanislaus County picks a base reuse developer; Solana Beach voters limit monster houses; HCD questions Alhambra Redevelopment Agency; Carmel Valley sues LAFCO.
With the passage of $42 billion in bonds last November, infrastructure spending has risen to the top of the state Legislature's agenda. More than 60 bills attempt to allocate portions of the money or establish criteria for spending the funds, according to the California Budget Project. Still, there is plenty of legislative activity surrounding other planning and development staples, including housing, the California Environmental Quality Act, flood control and economic development.
It may not be the parting of the Red Sea, but the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan is miracle enough. Sponsored by the Los Angeles River Committee of the Los Angeles City Council, the revitalization master plan may be the corner-turning event that actually kicks off the process of making a depressing culvert into a riparian green belt, studded with neighborhood parks, including several in the city's poorest neighborhoods.
If anything has become clear during the months since voters approved a $19.9 billion transportation bond last November, it's that freeways are still king. The first $4.5 billion allocated by the California Transportation Commission (CTC) was aimed solely at roads, mostly for expanding freeway capacity. Another $3 billion for pavement — including $1 billion for Highway 99 — is scheduled for allocation by June.