March 2009

Have you participated in an outstanding planning project in the last year?  Do you know someone who should be recognized for their leadership in planning? Nominate a project or person for one of the award categories below by Monday, April 6, 2009. The Sacramento Valley Section uses the State award application form. Section winners for all categories except the Local Vision Awards are submitted to the state for statewide awards.


Call Leslie Walker at (916) 456-9595 or email

For More Information

Please consult the California APA Award Program Policy, the Sacramento Valley Application Form, last year’s winners for the Sacramento Valley Section, and the Local Vision Awards.

By William W. Abbott

In 2006, the Santa Clara Valley Water District (“District”) adopted higher rates for groundwater pumping. These charges were imposed on water districts and utilities which pumped their own groundwater, including the Great Oaks Water Company (“Great Oaks”). Great Oaks subsequently filed suit seeking to set aside the increases claiming that the District had failed to comply with CEQA by not specifying the factual or evidentiary basis for the rate increases and that exemptions from CEQA are invalid because the District’s budget included monies dedicated to system expansion.

Continue Reading District Offered Sufficient Justification to Apply CEQA Exemption to Rate Setting for Groundwater Extraction Charges

For those of you that missed the Sacramento and Modesto seminars last month, you can now reserve a seat for the first ever Abbott & Kindermann, LLP seminar in Redding, California.

On April 7, 2009, Abbott & Kindermann, LLP will present it’s annual complimentary educational program for clients and colleagues interested in current land use, environmental, and real estate issues affecting commercial and residential development, real estate acquisition, easements, leasing and property acquisition, and mining.  

First Ever – Redding Conference

  • Date: Tuesday, April 7, 2009
  • Location: Hilton Garden Inn Redding , 5050 Bechelli Lane
  • Registration: 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Program: 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

There is no charge for the programs and MCLE credits are available.

An RSVP will be required as space is limited. To reserve a spot now, call our office at (916) 456-9595. When calling, please specify which conference you will be attending.

By Glen Hansen

California’s eminent domain law permits acquisition of property only for a “proposed project” that is intended for public use. In City of Stockton v. Marina Towers, LLC (2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 93, ("Marina") the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District held that the City of Stockton ("City") was unable to satisfy its burden of proving that it had the right to condemn property on its waterfront because the City’s resolution of necessity did not contain a sufficient project description.

Continue Reading Don’t “Condemn First, Decide What to do With the Property Later”

By Glen Hansen

When governmental agencies force owners of real property to remediate contaminated soil and groundwater, the owners will invariably attempt to recover the remediation costs from those persons or entities responsible for the contamination. That may include former owners of the property or former operators of facilities on the property. If the contamination has been present in the soil and groundwater for many years, a lawsuit to recover remediation costs from the responsible parties may be barred by the 3-year statute of limitations in Code of Civil Procedure section 338, subdivision (b). However, if the contamination is still migrating through the soil or groundwater, the plaintiff may be able to avoid the bar of the 3-year statute of limitations by alleging a continuing nuisance or trespass.


By Cori Badgley

Sixells, LLC v. Cannery Business Park (2008) 170 Cal.App.4th 648 reminds buyers and sellers that when entering into a purchase agreement whereby the property must be subdivided, the Subdivision Map Act requires that a parcel map be filed prior to contracting for the sale or the sale must be expressly conditioned upon the approval and filing of a final map. The purchase and sale agreement between Sixells and Cannery Business Park failed to meet these requirements and was therefore void.

Continue Reading Using the Subdivision Map Act to Void an Unwanted Transaction

By William W. Abbott

We all are familiar with the State of California in its role in land planning and development as the uber regulator. But if you turn back the hands of time immediately before World War I, a different picture emerges; that of land developer.

Continue Reading An Historic Tale of Two Towns: The State of California as a Planner and Subdivider, Part I

By William W. Abbott

The Fourth Appellate District recently faced a similar CEQA timing question to that posed in Save TaraRiverwatch v. Olivenhain Municipal Water District (Gregory Canyon Ltd) (2009) 170 Cal.App.4th 1186, (reissued and ordered published January 30). The case involved a landfill operator, who applied for and received County approval to operate a landfill. This approval was preceded by an EIR, which was challenged for adequacy by Riverwatch and the City of Oceanside. The trial court agreed with Riverwatch that the water supply analysis was insufficient, and that as the EIR recognized that recycled water from the water district might be used in the event that groundwater proved to be insufficient, that the EIR had to assess the potential impacts associated with the use of the offsite recycled water. The trial court ruled in favor of the opponents and ordered the County to set aside the EIR approval.

Continue Reading Appellate Court Directs Developer-District Recycled Water Agreement To Be Set Aside Based Upon CEQA Violation