Municipalities

California Court of Appeal Finds County Did Not Engage in "Piecemeal" Environmental Review

May 1, 2017 | Bulletin No. 127403.1

On April 25, 2017, California's Sixth District Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Aptos Council v. County of Santa Cruz, holding that the County did not violate California law when it separately considered the environmental impact of three ordinances in its effort to modernize zoning regulations.

Three New Medical Marijuana Bills Approved by the California Legislature, Pending Approval by Governor

September 28, 2015 | Bulletin No. 1273978.1

Background

On September 14, 2015, three new medical marijuana bills were approved by the California Legislature and are now pending approval by Governor Brown. According to a bulletin issued by the League of California Cities, the Governor's approval is anticipated since his staff was closely involved in the final drafting of each measure.

Inadvertent Public Records Act Release of Attorney Work Product Does Not Necessarily Waive Privilege

August 10, 2015 | Bulletin No. 1273975.1

The Public Records Act (PRA) generally provides that documents retained by a public agency must be disclosed to the public. However, the PRA includes various exceptions. One such exception is that documents subject to the attorney-client and attorney work product privileges need not be disclosed. That being said, Government Code section 6254.5 provides that once a privileged document is "disclosed" by a public agency, the privilege is waived and the document must be disclosed to any member of the public.

United States Supreme Court Declares Town Sign Ordinance Unconstitutional

June 25, 2015 | Bulletin No.

Municipalities throughout the country have many different types of sign ordinances. Some ordinances distinguish signs by their subject matter. For example, an ordinance might apply stricter rules to "Event Signs" than "Political Signs."

A Public Entity Risks Incurring Inverse Condemnation Taking Damages If It Prevents Development Of Property Designated For A Public Use At Some Unknown Future Date

May 21, 2015 | Bulletin No. 1257683.1

In Jefferson Street Ventures, LLC v. City of Indio (April 21, 2015, Civil No. G049899) ___ Cal.App.4th ___), the Court of Appeal addressed whether a city can deny development of property it anticipates needing for a public project at some unknown future date.  In that case, the City of Indio ("City") denied an owner permission to develop property it identified as potentially required for an interchange.  At the time, the City was not in a position to acquire the property, and construction of the interchange would not occur for several years.  Although undeveloped property would presumably cost less for the City to acquire, the Court rejected the City's cost saving rationale.  It held the City liable for damages since the denial of development constituted an invalid taking of the private property.

Not "Clearly Frivolous" - City Loses Attorney's Fees in Public Records Act Case

February 5, 2015 | Bulletin No. 1180735.1

Although often mentioned as a possible remedy when defending meritless Public Records Act (PRA) lawsuits, it is actually very difficult for public agencies to obtain attorneys’ fees and costs when they prevail in PRA litigation. In practice, Courts may only award such fees and costs when a plaintiff's case is "clearly frivolous." As an example, in Bertoli v.

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.