July 2008

By Leslie Z. Walker and William W. Abbott

The California Legislature borrowed a trick from California’s last economic downturn to assist struggling homebuilders. On July 15, 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law Senate Bill 1185 (Chapter 124, Statutes 2008), which, similar to previous legislation passed in the mid 1990’s (Gov. Code, §§ 66452.11 and 66452.13) extends the life of approved tentative subdivision maps.

Continue Reading Senate Bill 1185: Legislature Puts Time on the Side of Tentative Subdivision and Parcel Maps, But Drafting Error May Trigger Follow-Up Legislation

By Cori M. Badgley

In St. Vincent’s School for Boys v. City of San Rafael (2008) 161 Cal.App.4th 989, the court addressed various issues relating to the City of San Rafael’s (“City”) approval of a new general plan. The court also addressed a claim brought by the City against St. Vincent’s School for Boys (“St. Vincent’s”) regarding obtaining reasonable costs for record preparation. (This counter-claim was published prior to the rest of the opinion and discussed in a previous article, Be Careful What You Ask For: The Costs Might Be More Than You Can Bear, on our blog.) This article focuses on St. Vincent’s claims concerning the approval of the general plan. The message consistently sent by the court was no matter how much St. Vincent’s would prefer that the general plan amendments be struck down; St. Vincent’s preferences do not matter.

Continue Reading Unwanted, Now Unplanned: City Says “No” to Annexation and Draws the Line on City Expansion

By Leslie Z. Walker

In Muzzy Ranch Co. v. Solano County Land Use Commission (2008) 164 Cal.App.4th 1, decided on June 19, 2008, the appellate court resolved the issues not addressed the first time it reviewed the case. (Muzzy Ranch Co. v. Solano County Airport Land Use Commission (2005) 125 Cal.App.4th 810, reversed by Muzzy Ranch Co. v. Solano County Airport Land Use Commission, (2007) 41 Cal.4th 372.) In this case, the Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District found that the Travis Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan (“TALUP”) was not inconsistent with the Air Force Installation Compatible Use Zone (“AICUZ”) and that the Solano County Airport Land Use Commission (“Commission”) did not abuse its discretion in adopting the TALUP.

Continue Reading The Rest of Muzzy Ranch: ALUCs Not Required to Adopt AICUZ Standards

By Janell M. Bogue

In the case of Coos County Board of County Commissioners v. Kempthorne (June 26, 2008) 2008 U.S.App.Lexis 13475, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reiterated that the appropriate way for a species to be removed from the protections of the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) is via a petition for delisting. The court held that there is no mandatory duty imposed upon the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) to delist species through the five year review process. (See 16 U.S.C. § 1533(c)(2).) Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Confirms That USFWS Has No Ongoing Duty to Remove Endangered Species from List; Appropriate Method is to Petition for Delisting

By Rob Hofmann

The Court of Appeal (Third Appellate District) has reaffirmed the judicial trend to give great deference to the terms of an executed real property purchase agreement as written, emphatically stating that the pre-litigation mediation provision at issue in Lange v. Schilling (2008) 163 Cal.App.4th 1412 “means what it says and will be enforced.” Substantial conformity with the provision requirements is not enough to qualify to recover attorney’s fees. 

Continue Reading Wronged Real Property Buyer Pays Dearly For Not Complying With Standard Purchase Agreement Pre-Litigation Mediation Provision

By Leslie Z. Walker

On June 26, 2008, the California Air Resources Board (“ARB”) released a draft of the scoping plan required under Assembly Bill 32 (Chapter 488, Statutes 2006), the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (“AB 32”). AB 32 requires greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020. (Health & Saf. Code, § 38550.) In order to accomplish this, ARB had to determine, by January 1, 2008, what the statewide greenhouse gas emission level was in 1990. (Id.) By January 1, 2009, ARB must prepare and adopt a scoping plan which achieves required reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. (Health & Saf. Code, § 38561.) A draft of this scoping plan was released on June 26, 2006.

Continue Reading Local Government Responsible for 1% of Statewide GHG Emission Reduction According to ARB Draft Plan

By William W. Abbott

The Subdivision Map Act (“SMA”) contains a process for re-subdividing all or a part of an existing subdivision.  When that occurs, public easements shown on the prior map are extinguished unless incorporated into the new map. (Gov. Code, § 66499.20 ½.) This sounds like a simple enough concept, but in reality, there is nothing truly simple whenever the facts involve dirt, the SMA and easements.

Continue Reading Old Maps, Re-Subdivision Maps, and Relocated Easements

By Janell M. Bogue

On May 9, 2008, the Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles Districts of the Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) released standard templates for mitigation banks. Included are templates for:

Continue Reading California Army Corps Districts Release Mitigation Bank Templates

By William W. Abbott

A common scenario in California counties involves the concurrent recording of a subdivision or parcel map, coupled with the subdivider’s offer of dedication of a road easement to the County. Frequently, the offer to dedicate goes unaccepted by the County. Pursuant to the Subdivision Map Act ("SMA"), this offer remains open and can be accepted by the Board of Supervisors at a later date. Government Code section 66477.2. Official action is not always required for the public to gain rights of use. Roads can also be informally dedicated to the public by public use, the question being, how much public use is required?

Continue Reading Offers of Dedication and Public Acceptance; How Much is Enough and Reconciliation of Common Law Revocation with Express Provisions of the Subdivision Map Act