July 2010

By Leslie Z. Walker

As mandated by SB 375 (Stats 2008, Ch.728) the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is required to set passenger vehicle greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction targets for 2020 and 2035 for each of the 18 Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) regions in California. CARB must set the targets by September 30, 2010. (Gov. Code, § 65080 subd. (b)(2)(A).)

Continue Reading . . . And the Number is . . . Five to Ten Percent Reduction Target for 2020

By William W. Abbott

In an earlier case involving Takings jurisprudence, Supreme Court Justice Brennan once asked, “If a policeman must know the Constitution, then why not a planner?” Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection (2010) ___ U.S. ___. Indeed, why not, and should the same question be asked of state courts? This issue came before the United States Supreme Court in the form of a submerged lands case from the State of Florida. Pursuant to Florida law, a beach front property owner has several rights. With respect to the slow addition of sand extending seaward into the ocean (accretion), the additional land belongs to the property owner. The sudden addition of land seaward (avulsion) however, belongs to the state as the owner of the submerged lands seaward of the mean high tide line. In the latter situation, the property line remains where it was prior to the avulsion. Florida law permits cities and counties to undertake beach restoration projects, typically involving placement of sand on submerged lands on the seaward side of the dividing property line. As part of that process, the State establishes the erosion control line. Once established, the common law of accretion (to increase or decrease property), no longer applies.

Continue Reading Takings Analysis Potentially Applies to Judicial Decisions as Well

By William W. Abbott

One of the elements of a Proposition 218 election is the engineer’s report in support of the spread of assessments. As 218 places the burden on the agency adopting the assessment to justify the assessment, every agency facing the question of, how much information is required? The recent case of Beutz v. County of Riverside (2010) 184 Cal.App.4th 1516, sheds light on the subject.

Continue Reading When All Else Fails, Blame the Engineers

By William W. Abbott 

The California Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, reversed the First Appellate District and upheld a trial court’s decision rejecting a challenge to overturn a Proposition 218 election. In Ford Greene v. Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District (June 7, 2010) 49 Cal.4th 277, the basis of the challenge was whether or not the district conducting the election had maintained the requisite level of voting secrecy.

Continue Reading Now You Have a Secret, Now You Don’t. Secret Balloting and Proposition 218

By Leslie Z. Walker

In City of Santee v. County of San Diego (June 7, 2010, D055310) __Cal.App.4th__ the Fourth District Court of Appeal held that an agreement between the County of San Diego and the Department of Corrections under which the County identified potential locations for a state prison reentry facility in exchange for preference in the awards of state financing of county jail facilities did not constitute a commitment to a definite course of action. As such, Save Tara v. City of West Hollywood (2008) 45 Cal.4th 116 did not require the County to conduct environmental review prior to entering into the agreement.

Continue Reading Appellate Court Post – Save Tara: Preliminary Exploration Does Not Constitute Project Commitment for CEQA

The following summary of 2010 legislation has been released by Peter M. Detweiler, Staff Director for the Senate Local Government Committee.

"With the legislative deadlines for policy committees now behind us, I want you to know about some of the more interesting bills that the Senate Local Government Committee worked on during 2010. The urgency bills took effect on the day they were chaptered; regular bills will take effect on January 1, 2011.

Continue Reading Senate Local Government Committee Releases 2010 Greatest Hits List