Municipal and Special Districts

Tax Increment Financing Making a Return to California

Daily Journal, Thursday, October 9, 2014

Tax increment financing is back in California. New state legislation expanding the use of property tax increment through infrastructure financing districts (IFDs) gives local governments a tool to invest in needed infrastructure and economic development projects, much as they formerly could through redevelopment agencies until their elimination in 2012. However, it's clear that the new IFDs won't fully replace redevelopment agencies and the billions of dollars of tax increment they once generated.

Public Agency May Recover the Cost of Supplementing Administrative Record

September 29, 2014 | Bulletin No. 1146149.1

In CEQA litigation, the party challenging the project can either request that the agency prepare the record of proceedings (“Record”), or prepare the Record itself, subject to certification by the lead agency. In either case, the party preparing the Record must strive to do so at reasonable cost, and a prevailing party who prepared the Record may recover the costs of doing so. 

Court of Appeal Confirms Subdivision is a CEQA Project

September 15, 2014 | Bulletin No. 1143376.1

In Rominger v. County of Colusa (2014) (September 9, 2014, C073815) __ Cal.App.4th___, the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court and held that a tentative subdivision map is a project under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”).  In doing so, the Court rejected the County of Colusa’s (“County”) and project applicant’s contention that, in the absence of a specific development plan, the division of land alone is not a CEQA project.  Ultimately, the appellate court found that the petitioners had submitted sufficient evidence so as to require the preparation of an environmental impact report (“EIR”) for the subdivision project.

Sunshine Ordinance Preempted by City Charter Provision Creating Attorney-Client Privilege

August 13, 2014 | Bulletin No. 1135574.1

The First District Court of Appeal determined that City of San Francisco (“City”) resident Allen Grossman (“Grossman”) was not entitled to documents related to the development of certain San Francisco Ethics Commission (“Commission”) regulations. The case concerned a group of documents that had been withheld on the basis of attorney-client privilege, even though the City’s Sunshine Ordinance required disclosure of the documents. The Court found that the attorney-client privilege afforded to the Commission’s communications with the City Attorney’s Office in the furtherance of seeking legal advice were enshrined in the City’s Charter, which preempted the Sunshine Ordinance (S.F. Admin. Code, ch. 67). (St. Croix v. Superior Court (2014) __ Cal.Rptr.3d ___ 2014 WL 3704275).

Public Records Act Did Not Require School District To Produce Student Academic Growth Over Time Scores That Identified Individual Teacher Names Tied To Those Scores

August 4, 2014 | Bulletin No. 1133530.1

The California Court of Appeal in Los Angeles Unified School District v.The Superior Court of Los Angeles County (July 23, 2014) 2014 WL 3615855, --- Cal.App.4th ---, recently held that unredacted academic growth over time scores revealing the names of individual teachers tied to those scores were exempt from disclosure under the "catch-all" exemption to the California Public Records Act because the public interest in non-disclosure of teachers' names under the particular circumstances clearly outweighed the public interest served by their disclosure.

Income Approach Requires Assessors To Identify And Deduct Specific Intangible Assets

July 16, 2014 | Bulletin No. 1119289.1

When the “fair market value” of real property is assessed in California, intangible assets and rights must be deducted in determining taxable value. In SHC Half Moon Bay v. County of San Mateo (2014) 226 Cal.App.4th 471, the Court of Appeal concluded that the approach used to assess the value of the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay Hotel violated state law because it failed to remove certain intangible assets prior to assessment.

DIR Launches New Mandatory Registration Program for Public Works Projects

July 11, 2014 | Bulletin No. 1127493.1

The California Department of Industrial Relations (“DIR”) has announced the launch of a new registration program for public works projects authorized by Senate Bill 854, which was signed into law on June 20, 2014, and became effective immediately.

Cities, Districts, Others To Restrict Lawn Watering, Car Washing, Pavement Washdowns And Fountains Under Proposed Statewide Emergency Regulation

July 10, 2014 | Bulletin No. 1127151.1

Cities, districts, public utilities and other urban water suppliers would have to limit landscape irrigation by customers and enforce other water use restrictions under emergency regulations proposed by the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) on July 8, 2014.

City Cannot Prohibit 'Living' in Vehicles

June 30, 2014 | Bulletin No. 1124439.1

In Desertrain v. City of Los Angeles (2014)  ___ F.3d ___ (2014 WL 2766541), a City of Los Angeles ("City") ordinance prohibiting the use of vehicles for habitation was held to violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Constructive Notice of Sidewalk Defects

June 30, 2014 | Bulletin No. 1124440.1

The Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment in Heskel v. City of San Diego (2014) ___ Cal.Rptr.3d ___ (2014 WL 2811185).  The Court found that a hollow sign pole base, protruding approximately two inches above ground level was not obvious enough to provide the City with constructive notice.

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