November 2010

By William W. Abbott

Divine purposes are not a free pass from local zoning regulations. In County of Los Angeles v. Sahag-Mesrob Armenian Christian School (2010) 188 Cal.App.4th 85, the Sahag-Mesrob Armenian Church owned two parcels zoned R-1, and on May 28, 2008, filed an application for a conditional use permit to operate an 800 student school. In September of the same year, the County received complaints that the school was operating in advance of the issuance of the conditional use permit. The County conducted an inspection, verified that the school was operating, and issued a Notice of Violation, giving the school 15 days to cease operation. Within this 15 day period, the Church applied for a “clean hands waiver” from the County, which would allow it to operate during the pendency of the use permit review and processing. The County denied the waiver request. The County then issued a final code enforcement order directing that the school cease operating within 15 days. This order was appealed and denied. Following subsequent verification that the school was still operating, the County filed a code enforcement action, and sought a preliminary injunction against the Church for operating the school illegally. The trial court granted the preliminary injunction and the church appealed.

Continue Reading Forgive Me Father, for I Have Violated the Zoning Ordinance

By William W. Abbott

I am old enough to remember when tattoos or “tats,” were a sign of rebellion, not a sign of conformity, much less the subject of television advertisement for what brand of beer to buy. But as an attorney, even I miss the point as I view someone with an upper torso or a bald head full of ink that they are in fact, a walking manifestation of my First Amendment rights. As they say, the freedom of bad taste is the most important freedom of all. Fortunately, the significance of the First Amendment is not lost on the Ninth Circuit.

Continue Reading Got Ink?

By Glen C. Hansen

In Perlas v. GMAC Mortgage, LLC (August 11, 2010) 187 Cal.App.4th 429, the California Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District held that home loan borrowers could not state a cause of action for fraudulent misrepresentation or concealment against a lender, because a borrower is not entitled to rely upon a lender’s knowingly false determination that the borrower is qualified for a loan in order to decide if the borrower could afford the loan.

Continue Reading A Lenders’ Loan Approval Is Not An Implied Promise That The Borrower Can Afford The Loan

By William W. Abbott

Land use and California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) litigation frequently involves a petitioner asking the court to second guess agency decision makers by reweighing the evidence, and to expansively interpret the statutory duties imposed by a particular statute. As illustrated in a recent appellate court decision upholding an urban water management plan, neither approach is appropriate. (Sonoma County Water Coalition v. Sonoma County Water Agency (2010) 189 Cal.App.4th 33.)

Continue Reading Court Upholds Agency’s Reasonable Assumptions in its Urban Water Management Plan