October 2009

By Cori Badgley

In Guggenheim v. City of Goleta (2009) 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 21313, the court made two important rulings: a challenge to an ordinance on its face, instead of as applied to plaintiffs, could be brought as a regulatory taking claim and a mobile home park rent control ordinance constituted a regulatory taking under Penn Central. Courts have rarely upheld regulatory takings claims, and for a rent control ordinance to be found a taking would appear to greatly expand the possible situations in which a regulatory taking has occurred.

Continue Reading Take This! Wealth-Transfer under Rent Control Ordinance Constitutes a Regulatory Taking

By William W. Abbott

One of the more intriguing early settlements in California involves the Polish colony in Anaheim. The story begins in Poland, and centers on a young aspiring actress, Helena Modjeska. Born Helena Opid in 1840, Modjeska at a relatively early age gained great fame and recognition as an actress. Her work as an actress brought her in contact with the prominent literati and liberals of time. At the time, Poland had been partitioned by Russia, Prussia and Austria, and the desire for unification and freedom was met with unbending, brutal responses by the occupiers. By 1875, while Modjeska was secure in both her success as an actress and by marriage to Count Bozenta, her health began to fail. The combination of political uncertainty and health concerns, coupled with their established wealth, gave the actress and her family the option not many others possessed: leaving Poland. California became the eventual destination, with a vision of creating a utopian community, similar to Brook Farm in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, a colony launched in 1840 by Transcendentalists.

Continue Reading Colonies & Settlements: The Polish Colony in Anaheim

By Katherine Hart

Senate Bill 448 sponsored by Fran Pavley was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger on October 11, 2009. The bill establishes the California State Safe Harbor Agreement Program Act (the “Act”) and adds provisions to the California Fish and Game Code. It will become effective on January 1, 2010.

Continue Reading Conservation Pays: New Statutory Protection for Landowners to “Take” Protected Species

By Glen Hansen

The ongoing mortgage crisis in California’s residential real estate market reinforces the current importance of California’s Home Equity Sales Contract Act law (“HESCA”), which is codified in Civil Code section 1695 et seq. Several cases in 2009 applying HESCA demonstrate how courts will enforce the strict requirements of that statute.

Continue Reading Case Law in 2009 Underscores the Strict Requirements of California’s Home Equity Sales Contract Act

By Cori Badgley

In San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District v. San Bernardino Local Agency Formation Commission (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 190, the Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District addressed the statutory interpretation of the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000 (Gov. Code, §§ 56000 et seq., 57000 et seq.) (“CKH Act”) as it relates to water districts.  Specifically, San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District (“SBVWCD”) argued that the repeal of certain sections in the Water Code relating to consolidation meant that LAFCo had no authority over the consolidation of water districts.  The appellate court disagreed.

Continue Reading Are Small, Special Purpose Districts an Endangered Species?

By Katherine Hart

On August 27, 2009, the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District in California issued the first ever CEQA decision on what an energy conservation impacts analysis can entail. In Tracy First v. City of Tracy, et al., the City of Tracy (“City”) prepared and certified an EIR and approved a project which included 1) a specific plan amendment to change the designation of property from industrial to commercial, and 2) a conditional use permit (“CUP”) to build a 95,900 square foot WinCo Foods store. Petitioner Tracy First sued to challenge the certification of the EIR and the approval of the project on the grounds the City failed to look at issues of energy conservation, alternatives, and extraterritorial traffic impacts.

Continue Reading A CEQA Issue of First Impression: Energy Conservation Impacts Analysis in EIRs