November 2009

By Glen C. Hansen

In White v. Cridlebaugh (October 20, 2009) 178 Cal.App.4th 506, the Court of Appeal for the Fifth Appellate District held that homeowners were entitled to recover all compensation paid to a contractor because the responsible managing officer had earlier abandoned the contractor without a replacement, thereby causing the license to be suspended by operation of law. Making matters worse, the unlicensed contractor cannot reduce the homeowners’ recovery by asserting claims of offset arising out of the value of the reasonable materials and services provided by the contractor to the homeowners.

Continue Reading If the Responsible Managing Officer Abandons the Licensed Contractor, the Contractor will be Working for Free

By Glen Hansen

In Nielsen v. Gibson (October 13, 2009) 178 Cal.App.4th 318, the Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District held that a couple who bought property from the record owner’s parents while the owner was permanently out of the country was entitled to a judgment for quiet title because the couple improved, maintained, fenced and irrigated the property, and paid the property taxes for almost 10 years.

Continue Reading Leaving the Country? You’re Still on Notice of the Adverse Possessors on Your Property

By William W. Abbott

The Santa Barbara COG is the local transportation authority for Santa Barbara County. As authorized by statute, the COG approved Measure A, which consisted of a sales tax measure for voter approval for transportation improvements and an investment plan, which served as the statutory Expenditure Plan.  The COG then approved a resolution calling for the Board of Supervisors to put Measure A on the ballot. Petitioner challenged the COG approval on the basis that no CEQA review had been completed. The trial court ruled in favor of the COG, concluding that Measure A meets the criteria for an exemption from CEQA as the funding mechanism did not commit the COG to specific projects, notwithstanding the Expenditure Plan. Three months after COG approval of Measure A, but before the election, the COG certified an EIR for the 2008 Regional Transportation Plan.

Continue Reading Approval of a Sales Tax Measure and an Investment Plan by the Regional Transportation Planning Body, as Part of a Sales Tax Measure to be Submitted to the Voters, Qualifies as Exempt from CEQA

By Cori Badgley

Traditionally, land use planning generally has been left to counties and cities. On a selected basis, the legislature has intervened and added an overlapping layer of state regulation, such as the Coastal Commission, Cal TRPA and BCDC. With state mandated housing elements, cities in particular have had to take a more regional perspective in addressing housing needs. SB 375 in 2008 added to the subtle shift in the local-state planning paradigm. Now, the state is embarking on an unprecedented process to create a preferred land use scenario for all of California. This process is called Vision California, and it has a 2050 planning horizon.

Continue Reading Vision California: Centralization of Land Use Planning at the State Level?

By William W. Abbott

Begun as a ministry in the 1850’s to help the poorest of poor in East London, the Salvation Army came to the United States in 1880.  As a small part of its overall mission of the salvation of souls ,the Salvation Army developed three farm colonies in the United States: Fort Romie (California), Fort Amity (Colorado) and Fort Herrick (Ohio). Fort Romie, located two miles south-southwest from Soledad, Monterey County, was the first of these colonies.  The objective was to relocate impoverished city dwelling to rural locations where they could enjoy a healthy physical and spiritual lifestyle as farmers.  The Army’s battle cry was to return the landless man to the manless land.

Continue Reading When a Fort is a Home: The Salvation Army, Fort Romie and Connecting Landless Men with Manless Land

By Cori Badgley

Since the passage of Proposition 13, cities and counties have been prohibited from reassessing property taxes until a property is sold or transferred, at which point the property tax cannot exceed one percent of the assessed value. This means that once the initial assessed value has been determined, the assessment for the purpose of property tax evaluation is essentially “frozen” in time, with a maximum increase in the annual cap for inflation of two percent. This leaves the cities and counties with one opportunity to reassess the property value upon acquisition of the property. Generally, the question of what constitutes a “transfer” or “sale” is easily answered. In terms of corporations and partnerships, however, the question can become a more difficult.

Continue Reading The Battle Over Property Taxes Continues