Local government agencies sometimes enact short-term building moratoriums for certain areas to further assess changes in land use patterns or slow growth. Those moratoriums imposed across a large area usually do not constitute a taking. But what if a moratorium is imposed solely and specifically as to a singled-out property? Does that moratorium give rise to a taking? According to a recent court of appeal opinion, the answer is no, at least when that moratorium is imposed as a penalty against the property owner for violating local building codes.
Throughout all of the ups and downs in 2021, there have been multiple developments on the eminent domain front, including the special occasion where the U.S. Supreme Court heard a takings case. Outside of case law, 2021 saw the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed, which aims to provide federal funding for infrastructure projects for many years to come. All in all, 2021 was a fairly busy year for right-of-way and eminent domain practitioners.
Click here for summaries of the prominent cases and developments in eminent domain from 2021...
Sea level rise is a critical issue facing public agencies and property owners throughout the United States. In California alone, this phenomenon could impact thousands of residences and businesses, dozens of wastewater treatment plants and power plants and hundreds of miles of highways, roads and railways. Last year, the California Legislature introduced a number of bills that proposed to address, or anticipate, or mitigate the impacts of sea level rise in California. Almost all of those bills, however, failed to make their way to the Governor’s desk. This year, the California ...
As the world continues to grapple with the devastating impacts from COVID-19, local government agencies are finding ways to help local businesses survive while still complying with the complex maze of regulatory requirements. As just one example, many cities and counties are permitting restaurants and other businesses to offer outdoor dining and other services, including granting permits to operate on the public sidewalk or in streets. However, in some cases, while those outdoor operations may benefit some businesses, other businesses are complaining about the resulting ...
We routinely get calls from owners facing impacts to their property or business as a result of construction of a public project or changes in adjacent public streets. For example, the city or county may close a road, create a cul-de-sac, turn a two-way street into a one-way street, close a driveway, relocate an off-ramp, or change a road’s elevation. When there is no physical taking of property, do these public improvements trigger a taking entitling an owner to compensation? It is a tricky, heavily fact-intensive inquiry, but generally, the analysis centers around whether the ...
With the recent government mandates surrounding COVID-19, many businesses are completely shut down and are legally unable to open their doors to the public. Are those businesses -- movie theaters, gyms, retail stores, etc. -- entitled to compensation for a regulatory taking? Similarly, landlords are experiencing massive losses as those tenants are unable to make rental payments; are those losses compensable? Should governments worry about liability when issuing orders requiring the closure of businesses?
While compensation arguably should be paid from a decency and “good ...
When a local government agency impermissibly spot zones a property, thereby depriving it of all economically beneficial uses, can the property owner seek to invalidate that zoning decision, or is the owner left with a claim for damages under the theory of a regulatory taking? In a recent published California district court decision ...
A few months ago, we reported on a Court of Appeal decision, Bottini v. City of San Diego, where the Court held that delays resulting from a governmental agency's improper denial of a permit application for a new development did not result in a regulatory taking. The case involved a local agency's improper application of CEQA to a proposed residential development, and the property owner successfully securing a decision by the court to overturn the City's requirement to comply with CEQA where there was a clear exemption. The owner also sought damages due to a lengthy delay in ...
With the recent widespread reports of sea-level rise triggered by global warming, the California Coastal Commission -- a state agency which regulates coastal development -- plans to release a proposal in early-2019 which provides guidelines to local jurisdictions on how to combat the potential impacts. The stakes are enormous, as the Commission believes many homes along California's 1,100 miles of coastline will inevitably be wiped out by a rising ocean. According to an article by Anne Mulkern in E&E News, Calif. prepares policy for coastal 'retreat', the suggested ...
When a governmental agency improperly denies a permit application for a new development, and the proposed development is thereby delayed, does this result in a regulatory taking? As we've seen in some prior cases, such improper governmental actions can trigger liability, but it is uncommon. A recent Court of Appeal decision, Bottini v. City of San Diego (Sept. 18, 2018), highlights just how difficult it is for a property owner to pursue a regulatory taking due to a delay caused by a city's improper denial of a development application.
Bottini concerns the ...
For those of you who have followed Nossaman’s eminent domain blog since the very early days, you’ll recall our coverage of a significant regulatory takings case, Monks v. City of Rancho Palos Verdes. The 2008 California decision received much press coverage in that it was one of the very few instances where property owners overcame the myriad substantive and procedural obstacles and succeeded under a regulatory takings theory. Now, ten years later, another group of property owners in Rancho Palos Verdes attempted to pursue a similar regulatory takings claim on the back of ...
When state and local governments impose unreasonable conditions or exactions on private property, owners pursuing a regulatory takings claim often face a maze of procedural obstacles just to have their case heard. I once described these procedural obstacles as resembling Alice's trip through Wonderland, with the parties falling in and out of state and then federal court (instead of a rabbit hole) based on procedural and substantive rules that often seem as logical as the Mad Hatter's recitals at the Tea Party. The reason for this maze stems from (i) a U.S. Supreme Court decision ...
As we’ve seen all too many times in California, when local municipalities delay development approvals -- even improperly -- courts are reluctant to find liability under an inverse condemnation cause of action and award temporary damages. While there have been some successful cases (see Lockaway Storage v. County of Alameda (2013) 216 Cal.App.4th 161), those results are the exception, not the rule. A recent court of appeal opinion, Mahon v. County of San Mateo 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1483, provides an example of the uphill battle a property owner faces in successfully ...
As we've reported in the past, temporary takings are compensable in California. But such claims are not easy to prove, particularly when you're dealing with the federal government imposing temporary regulations preventing use of property. A recent case, Reoforce v. United States, demonstrates some of the hurdles an impacted property owner may face.
In Reoforce, the plaintiff discovered a mineral deposit called pumicite on federal land in Kern County, California. Believing the deposit had potential value for paint and fiberglass applications, Reoforce submitted a mining ...
On November 4, 2014, San Benito County voters went to the poles to vote on Measure J, the measure designed to prohibit hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, and related gas and oil extraction activities, as well as other "high-intensity petroleum operations," including acid well stimulation and cyclic steam injection. The measure also banned any new gas or oil drilling activity - even conventional, low-intensity activity - in areas the county zoned for residential or rural land use.
With 59% of the vote, supporters approved Measure J in an effort to protect the local environment ...
California Eminent Domain Report is a one-stop resource for everything new and noteworthy in eminent domain. We cover all aspects of eminent domain, including condemnation, inverse condemnation and regulatory takings. We also keep track of current cases, project announcements, budget issues, legislative reform efforts and report on all major eminent domain conferences and seminars in the Western United States.
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