September 2007

Joel Ellinwood, AICP, senior associate at Abbott & Kindermann, LLP, will present two continuing legal education seminars at the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of California, September 27 – 30, 2007, in Anaheim, California. 

Get to the Bottom Line: Development Economics for Real Estate Attorneys will be presented on Thursday, September 27  at 2:15 – 4:15.  Joining Mr. Ellinwood on the panel will be Michael Kvarme, an attorney specializing in real estate finance;  Aaron Gruen, a development economics and market research consultant and Jim Hurley, who has experience as both a developer and a major investment fund manager.  The presentation is aimed at helping real estate attorneys gain a better understanding of how developers make a profit (or lose their shirts). Public and private sector attorneys will leave with insight into how to better service their clients.

Hidden Land Use Fees will be the topic of a provocative dialogue between Mr. Ellinwood and Adam U. Lindgren, City Attorney for the City of Rancho Cordova and co-author and editor of the CEB Publication, California Land Use Practice.  The focus will be on how to best protect clients’ interests in coping with California’s chaotic and inefficient regulation of land use that drives up development time lines, costs and risk. The presentation will by on Sunday, September 30 from 10 am – noon.

Bill Abbott, a partner with the firm, will be speaking at the California Chapter of the American Planning Association Annual Meeting in San Jose.  He will be involved in a session on Regional Transportation Mitigation Fees on Tuesday, October 2 at 1:30pm.  More information about the meeting can be found at the CCAPA website

By William W. Abbott

The California Attorney General was recently asked whether or not the grant of a conservation easement on a portion of a parcel constituted a “division” for purposes of the Subdivision Map Act. (Government Code, §§ 66410 et seq.) The AG concluded, as many surveyors, local officials and land use attorneys had already determined, that such a conveyance was in fact, not a subdivision. (California Attorney General Opinion 06-801, August 14, 2007.)

Continue Reading Conservation Easements and the Subdivision Map Act

By Cori Badgley and Kate Hart

“When is a project consistent with a general plan?” continues to be a question faced by local governments, developers, environmental advocates, and of course, the courts.  A recent case out of Solano County, Friends of Lagoon Valley v. City of Vacaville (August 28, 2007) 2007 Cal.App.LEXIS 1424, illustrates the important role the drafters of the general plan play in establishing the consistency parameters for the projects that follow.

Continue Reading Flexible General Plan Leads to Flexible Consistency

By Janell M. Bogue

In development, as in life, plans change. From a CEQA standpoint, problems emerge as projects are modified, as the triggers requiring new environmental review are less than precise. The recent case of Mani Brothers Real Estate Group v. City of Los Angeles (2007) 153 Cal.App.4th 1385 (“Mani Brothers”) demonstrates that even the courts are unclear on the issue, as two appellate courts have come to two different conclusions. The court in Mani Brothers emphasized that the question is not whether the changes amount to a new project, but whether there is substantial evidence that the changes in the project would create new and significant environmental impacts.

Continue Reading Second Appellate District Clarifies Test for SEIR Preparation When Project is Modified