June 2005

The California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Central Valley Region (“Regional Board”), held a Public Advisory Committee meeting regarding its Irrigated Lands Program on May 9, 2005. The Regional Board hinted that in the next few months it will begin sending Water Code, section 13267 “Investigation of Water Quality” letters to those that discharge from irrigated land in the Yuba, Butte, and Sutter County areas, in addition to the Pitt River sub-watershed area. Section 13267 investigations will often demand that the alleged discharger provide the Regional Board with information, documents, and reports about its alleged discharge from irrigated lands.

As a reminder, all those that irrigate land in the Central Valley and have the potential to discharge into waters of the state in a manner that could affect water quality must: 1) Obtain Waste Discharge Requirements, 2) Obtain Individual Discharger waivers, or 3) Obtain waivers by joining a Coalition Group.

For information on the Irrigated Lands Program and compliance requirements, contact our office, or visit our website at http://www.aklandlaw.com, or see the Regional Board’s website at http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralvalley/programs/irrigated_lands/index.html.

by William W. Abbott and Janell M. Bogue Lately, infill projects have become a hot-topic development strategy, especially in established neighborhoods. In Pocket Protectors v. City of Sacramento (2004) 124 Cal.App.4th 903, the developer proposed an infill project on a long, narrow strip of vacant land subject to a PUD zoning designation. The PUD called for the construction of townhouses in the project area, but the developer instead wanted to build a double row of single-family homes along a private street. Initially, the City was supportive. But even before preparation of the draft Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND), neighbors began to complain. They organized a group called “Pocket Protectors” and gathered signatures for a petition in opposition of the new project. Their complaints centered on the project’s inconsistencies with the PUD and city land use policies, which many of them had allegedly relied upon to control growth and development in the area. Pocket Protectors also complained about the aesthetic impacts of the project because it provided minimal setbacks from adjacent landowners, only planned nominal landscaping, and created a “canyon” effect due to the lining of the narrow street with closely placed homes of similar sizes. Subsequently, the Planning Commission denied approval citing many of the same complaints of the Pocket Protectors. Continue Reading Pocket Protectors Protest Proposed Project; Prevail

The correlation requirement…I wonder if Crockett and Tubbs ever arrested anyone for possession of an uncorrelated general plan?

by William W. Abbott

What do Miami Vice, “We Built this City” by Jefferson Starship, and the Best Picture of the Year “The Color Purple” have in common? It’s the year 1985. It is the same year that the Court of Appeal initially defined the boundaries of the correlation requirement for general plans. Concerned Citizens of Calaveras County v. Board of Supervisors (1985) 166 Cal.App.3d 90. That is, the court was the first to apply the statutory requirement that the circulation element be “correlated” with the land use element. Government Code section 65302(b). fn1 In the Citizens case, the appellate court found that Calaveras County had run afoul of the correlation requirement in that the land use element provided for significant population growth while at the same time, the circulation element acknowledged an inability to build the supporting roadway infrastructure, and no likelihood of obtaining the funds necessary to close the gap in the future (perhaps the sin of too much honesty?). Flash forward twenty years, and in a fashion similar to how general plans have evolved, so has the judicial thinking on this same topic. Continue Reading Correlating Land Use and Circulation Elements of a General Plan

by William W. Abbott and Janell M. Bogue

The recent case of Hayward Area Planning Association v. City of Hayward (2005) Cal.App.4th 176 illustrates the importance of proper trial court record preparation in CEQA cases. Plaintiffs, community groups opposed to a proposed project, filed suit against the City of Hayward (City) and alleged that the City had not complied with CEQA. The developer, Hayward 1900, was identified as the real party in interest. Continue Reading Cost Recovery for Record Preparation in CEQA Litigation

by Robert T. Yamachika The Third District Court of Appeal recently decided a case addressing the interplay of water supply analysis and land use planning. As many readers of aklandlaw working papers already know, the California Legislature adopted Senate Bill 610 (Chapter 643, Statutes of 2001) and Senate Bill 221 (Chapter 642, Statutes of 2001) in 2002 to improve the link between information on water supply availability and certain land use decisions made by cities and counties. SB 610 and SB 221 are companion measures which seek to promote more collaborative planning between local water suppliers and cities and counties. Both statutes require detailed information regarding water availability to be provided to the city and county decision-makers prior to approval of specified large development projects. Both statutes also require this detailed information be included in the administrative record that serves as the evidentiary basis for an approval action by the city or county on such projects. For more on SB 610/221, see Abbott & Kindermann’s November 2004 article on the legislation. Continue Reading New CEQA Guidance on Water Supply