August 2011

By William W. Abbott

As with most things in life, one person’s gain is another person’s loss, and public-private partnerships are not exempt from these types of tradeoffs. To the state engineers and their representative union, the contracting out to private engineering firms of engineering services traditionally performed by Caltrans engineering staff represents one of those zero-sum games. This becomes the backdrop to a challenge to the Phase II improvement work on Doyle Drive, the highway approach to the southern terminus of the Golden Gate Bridge, an existing roadway project worthy of improvement.

Continue Reading Caltrans Public-Private Highway Improvement Project Allows For Contracting Out Engineering Services To Private Firm

By Glen C. Hansen

In Hill v. San Jose Family Housing Partners (2011) __Cal.App.4th __, 2011 Cal. App. LEXIS 1101, the Court of Appeal for the Sixth Appellate District held (1) that a written easement for a billboard was enforceable, even if the billboard was constructed in an illegal manner; and (2) the servient owners’ development that unreasonably interfered with the visibility of the billboard could be grounds for lost profits damages owed to the owners of the billboard.

Continue Reading Illegal Construction Of A Billboard Does Not Render Billboard Easement Unenforceable, Nor Does It Allow The Servient Owner To Block Visibility Of The Billboard

By Katherine J. Hart

In Arcadia Development Co. v. City of Morgan Hill (August 5, 2011, H035519) ___ Cal.App.4th ___, petitioner and plaintiff (“Arcadia”) filed a petition for writ of mandate and a complaint for damages against the City of Morgan Hill (“City”) over an initiative measure placed on the ballot by the City and approved by the voters in 2004. Arcadia argued the City illegally spot-zoned its 69-acre property, inversely condemned the property, and sought damages for violating its civil and equal protection rights. Both the trial court and the appellate court rejected Arcadia’s claims.

Continue Reading Growth Measure Survives Spot Zoning and Equal Protection Challenge in an “As Applied” Challenge

By Leslie Z. Walker

In Santa Clarita Organization for Planning the Environment v. City of Santa Clarita (June 30, 2011, No. B224242) __ Cal.App.4th ___, the Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate district held that an agency does not necessarily have to explain why it has not adopted each mitigation measure on the Attorney General’s list of proposed greenhouse gas mitigation measures. The City of Santa Clarita approved a Master Plan for the expansion of a hospital and medical facilities (Project) by adopting a statement of overriding considerations and certifying the final environmental impact report (EIR) for the Project, adopting a development agreement between the city and the real parties in interest, and adopting the Master Plan (Approvals). The Project would expand the amount of hospital and medical office space on the existing site from its current size of 340,071 square feet to 667,434 square feet and would add nine proposed structures over the 15-year period of the Project.

Continue Reading Lead Agencies Are Not Always Required to Explain Why Every Proposed Mitigation Measure is Infeasible

The following summary of 2011 legislation has been released by Peter M. Detwiler, Consultant, Senate Governance & Finance Committee, State Capitol, Sacramento, California.

Earlier this year, the Senate created the Committee on Governance & Finance to replace the former Senate Revenue & Taxation Committee and the former Senate Local Government Committee. More information about this new Committee and its policy jurisdiction appears at

Now that the Legislature has started its summer recess, we have a chance to reflect on the bills that the Senate Governance & Finance Committee reviewed during the first half of 2011. These brief summaries offer you a selection of the more interesting and important bills.