In the ongoing quest to reclaim open space in the City of Los Angeles, no feature has been worried over more than the Los Angeles River and adjacent parcels. It is, by some accounts, one of the world's most un-natural waterways. The city's Los Angeles River Master Plan has long called for greening and the removal of concrete banks, but debate has raged over whether it even qualifies as a true river.
Typically it's the developers who worry about cap rates and the environmentalists who worry about preserving ecologically sensitive lands. That tradition could be upset, however, if a recent proposal to restrict the investments of nonprofit land trusts is approved by the California Department of Fish and Game.
The California Endangered Species Act allows for developers and other landowners to set aside sensitive lands and receive incidental take permits in exchange. These lands are typically preserved in perpetuity, using the investment income from endowments that the landowner sets aside.
In some ways, Christine Essel could not have come into her new job at a worse time – or from a more unexpected background. The new CEO of the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, Essel had previously led Paramount Pictures' government affairs team. She is one of few executives to cross over from Tinsletown to the gritty streets of urban Los Angeles. Those streets, in CRA/LA's 32 project areas and 128 active projects, may get even grittier thanks to the state's $2.1 billion transfer of redevelopment funds this past spring.
In a pair of decisions issued on the same day, the Second District Court of Appeal, Division Four, has addressed the scope of permitted regulation when a mobile home park owner elects to convert a park into a residential subdivision and sell individual spaces. In cases from the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles suburb of Carson, the court ruled that local government may apply state law and local considerations to restrict mobile home park conversions.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's designation of 858,000 acres in Northern California and Southern Oregon as critical habitat for fifteen endangered or threatened vernal pool species.
The court rejected attacks from the Home Builders Association of Northern California on the procedures used by the Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to designate the critical habitat.