August 2009

By William W. Abbott

Readers may remember our earlier account of the first State of California planned community, Durham, in Butte County, started in 1913.  Apparently pleased with the perceived success in Durham, the State Land Settlement Board embraced a more ambitious goal, this time an 8,000 acre community to be located in the community of Delhi, in Merced County. On the heels of World War I, the legislature expanded the program to specifically serve returning veterans.

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

By William W. Abbott

Some people look at a water glass and see it half full, others see it half empty. It all turns on one’s perspective. Differing perspectives can also apply to water charges during periods in which the utility user elects to not take service: are those charges to be treated as standby charges, subject to voter approval by Proposition 218 (Cal. Constitution Art. XIII D), or are they fees for service, exempt from voter approval?

Continue Reading Proposition 218, Water Charges and Voter Approval

By Cori M. Badgley

As mining companies continue attempting to lay claim to gold in the state known as “the last frontier,” environmental groups continue in their efforts stop them. At issue in Coeur Alaska, Inc. v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (2009) 129 S. Ct. 2458 was the proposed disposal of “slurry” from the Kensington Gold Mine into Lower Slate Lake. The United States Army Corps of Engineers (“USACE”) issued a 404 permit for the “fill” of the lake, which was challenged by the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (“SEACC”), among others, on the grounds that the new source performance standards found in Section 306 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. § 1251 et seq.) (“CWA”) prohibited the discharge of the slurry.

Continue Reading Alaska’s Gold Rush Continues: USACE 404 Permit Upheld by the Supreme Court

By Glen Hansen

In Lin v. City of Pleasanton, 2009 Cal. App. LEXIS 1170, the California Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District held that, barring extreme circumstances,Elections Code section 9238, subdivision (b)(2), does not require a referendum petition to include documents that were neither attached to the challenged ordinance, nor incorporated by reference.

Continue Reading A Referendum Petition does not have to Contain Documents that are only Referred to in a Challenged Ordinance

William W. Abbott has been recognized again by the publishers of Law & Politics and San Francisco Magazine as a leading practitioner of Land Use & Zoning Law.  Mr. Abbott has been selected each year from 2004-2009 based upon peer review by Northern California attorneys.  More information can be found at   Mr. Abbott has also been selected as one of the Best Lawyers® in America in the field of Land Use and Zoning Law for the year 2010.  More information is available at