Failure to Timely Name and Serve Real Parties In Interest

by californialandusedevelopmentlaw : jdsupra – excerpt

Failure to Timely Name and Serve Real Parties In Interest Does Not Warrant Dismissal Of An Entire CEQA Action if The Unnamed Parties Are Not Indispensable

In the first reported interpretation of a 2021 amendment to CEQA’s statute of limitations provisions, the First District Court of Appeal addressed “whether an action against a lead agency must be dismissed–despite being filed within the limitations period–because of a failure to [timely name and serve] necessary third parties.” Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods v. The Regents of the University of California (Collegiate Housing Foundation, American Campus Communities, et al.), 70 Cal.App.5th 705 (2021). Acknowledging that the Legislature sought to “provid[e] a bright-line rule as to which persons must be named [and
served] in the CEQA complaint,” the Court nonetheless decided that Code of Civil Procedure Section 289(b)’s equitable test for determining indispensability still applies to determine whether an incurable failure to timely name and serve real parties requires dismissal of the entire action…(more)

Good news?

All Projects—Including Non-Occupancy Structures—Require Climate Action Plan Consistency Analysis to Be nefit from Streamlined GHG Review under CEQA

By Taylor Jones : californialandusedevelopmentlaw – excerpt
The City of San Diego’s approval of underground utility lines was incomplete because its Climate Action Plan checklist improperly allowed certain non-occupancy projects to avoid greenhouse gas emission (GHG) consistency analysis. To take advantage of streamlined GHG review, CEQA requires lead agencies analyze each project’s consistency with the Climate Action Plan, regardless of occupancy. McCann v. City of San Diego, 70 Cal. App. 5th 51 (2021)…

Here, the City of San Diego’s overarching process—making a Climate Action Plan consistency determination to fulfill its obligation to evaluate GHG impacts under CEQA—was acceptable. However, the City erred by relying on an inadequate checklist to determine that the undergrounding project would have no significant GHG impact…

Without this required consistency analysis, the City’s determination that undergrounding would have no significant impact on GHGs was not supported by substantial evidence and the City abused its discretion in approving the mitigated negative declaration…(more)

Migration in the First Half of 2021

By Nadia Evangelou : – excerpt

A year into the pandemic, Americans continue to move to suburbs and small cities

Our previous study indicated that suburbs and small cities were clearly the winners of migration during the first year of the pandemic. With one in three adults working remotely and schools offering virtual learning, people sought out bigger houses with bigger yards for their kids to play in and office space for them to work. But, where do people move a year into the pandemic? Are suburbs and small cities gaining even more movers? As companies look beyond the pandemic, many are deciding whether to bring employees back to offices or allow them to work remotely and move away permanently.

Thus, to better understand the latest migration trends, we updated our analysis conducted last December using the United States Postal Service® change-of-address data. The current analysis covers relocations across the United States during the period January through June of 2021…(more)

In the case of “CVP/LC v ABAG,” ABAG finally gives up: Guilty as charged

by Bob Silvestri : marinpost – excerpt

On May 31, 2019, Community Venture Partners (CVP) and Livable California (LC) filed a Petition for Writ of Mandate and Complaint for Injunctive Relief and Declaratory Relief against the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) for violations of the Ralph M. Brown Act (California’s Open Meetings Law). After 2 ½ years of denial and obfuscation, ABAG surrendered to the inevitable. They had broken the law. That it took them all that time and easily over one hundred thousand dollars in legal fees (paid for by taxpayers) to come to that point is astonishing. They could have avoided all of it with a simple mea culpa…(more)

MILLENNIUM TOWER: Too Many Unknowns in the Ground

Open Letter to SF Board of Supervisors from Howard Wong, Architect, via email

Hello Supervisors: Appreciate the thorough investigation. Current estimated structural status: 16″ settlement, 23″ tilt to the west, 9.5″ tilt to the north. Although some owners have sold condos at a loss (others got settlement payments), owners obviously want to minimize financial hits. Their engineer says the building can tilt 6.5 feet and still resist an earthquake—which is true since steel towers sway in earthquakes and wind (high winds can be very powerful). But such sway is a temporary state.

Also, “resist” doesn’t mean no structural failure. Even well-engineered buildings can have extensive damage at connections and frames, rendering the structure uninhabitable—not to mention occupants’ trauma from the rocking/ rolling and windows breaking. Millennium Tower’s tilting and sinking exacerbates potential problems—by additional stresses on its structure.

The big problem is the soil and geotechnical conditions. The entire tower sits on a 10-feet thick concrete mat foundation—and it has dished 14″, not just tilted. For a 10-feet thick slab to bend, the forces must be immense. Since the mat is designed for the tower’s vertical loads, differential structural loads may be due to subsurface voids and/ or varying/ substandard soil conditions. Who knows?

What we do know is that digging/ drilling/ excavating has consequences. Perhaps, it’s better to facilitate sinking the opposite corner of the building—which was the fix for the leaning Tower of Pisa.

BTW: The tallest building in the world, the 163-story Burj Khalifa in Dubai also has a mat foundation—but compacting homogeneous dense sand (existing for thousands of years) is different from San Francisco’s heterogeneous dumped fill.

BTW: As an architect, I work with structural engineers and minored in structures in college. But much building performance is somewhat intuitive—when one palpably sees nature’s forces at work.

Best, Howard Wong, AIA


NBC: Fix Designer Says Millennium Tower Could Tilt 6.5 Feet., Still Withstand Major Quake,The%20tower%20is%20currently%20leaning%2023%20inches%20to%20the%20west,the%20west%20just%20since%20May.

STRUCTURE: Stabilizing San Francisco’s Leaning Tower

CIVIL ENGINEERING: Stabilizing the leaning Tower of Pisa

Rural County Representatives of California Sponsored Bill

By USFS : goldrushcam – excerpt

Rural County Representatives of California Sponsored Bill to Create a CEQA Exemption for Creation of Fire Safety Secondary Egress Routes Set for January Hearing

December 19, 2021 – The Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) reports Assembly Bill 1154, authored by Assembly Member Jim Patterson (R-Fresno), seeks to expedite fire safety improvements for subdivisions that are at significant risk of fire and lack a secondary egress routes. In particular, AB 1154 exempts from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), fire safety egress route projects stemming from recommendations made by the Board of Forestry (BOF).

In 2018, the Legislature enacted AB 2911 (Friedman), which requires the BOF to make recommendations to improve the fire safety of existing housing subdivisions that are at significant fire risk and without a secondary egress route. The BOF identified communities meeting those requirements and has begun the process of recommending which subdivisions need to create secondary egress routes. For more information about those subdivisions and the reports that have been complied, please visit the BOF website.

AB 1154 is intended to help reduce costs and potential project delays for these important egress route projects. These changes are even more important in light of the massive wildfires over the last several years…

AB 1154 is anticipated to be heard at the January 10th hearing of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. As the bill’s sponsor, RCRC will be there to testify in support…(more)

Third Appellate District Recognizes Unique Regional Resources at Lake Tahoe in Finding Olympic Valley Resort EIR Flawed

By Christian Marsh, Downey Brand LLP : jdsupra – excerpt

In September 2021, the Third District Court of Appeal in Sierra Watch v. Placer County reversed a judgement upholding Placer County’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a resort development project in the Olympic (formerly Squaw) Valley area. In the published portion of the opinion, the court found errors in the EIR’s description of the environmental setting and related water and air quality impact analyses, as well as in the EIR’s analysis and mitigation for construction noise impacts.

The proposed resort project is located within the Olympic Valley area, the site of the 1960 winter Olympics, a few miles northwest of Lake Tahoe. The proposed project includes two components to be built over 25 years. First, an 85-acre parcel called the Village, which would include lodging units, commercial space, and parking. Second, an 8.8-acre parcel called the East Parcel, which would primarily encompass employee housing.

In 2016, Sierra Watch filed a petition for writ of mandate challenging the project’s EIR under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) on multiple grounds. Following a hearing, the trial court rejected all of Sierra Watch’s claims and Sierra Watch appealed. The court of appeal reversed and found several errors with Placer County’s CEQA analysis.

Environmental Setting

As a threshold matter, the court of appeal found the EIR’s description of the environmental setting inadequate because it did not meaningfully address the Lake Tahoe Basin. In an EIR, the environmental setting is used as the baseline against which predicted effects of the project can be described and quantified. Usually an environmental setting describes the project’s immediate vicinity, but the CEQA Guidelines provide that the description should also place a special emphasis on “environmental resources that are rare or unique to that region and would be affected by the project.”…(more)

Land Use Matters: December 2021

By Andrea S. Warren, Kathleen A. Hill : Alston and Bird : alston – excerpt
(Includes a downloadable pdf)

Los Angeles Department of City PlanningNew City Planning Application Fees Take Effect on December 27, 2021

California Environmental Quality Act & Land Use Cases:…

Farmland Protection Alliance v. County of Yolo (3rd App. Dist., November 2021)

Save Berkeley’s Neighborhoods v. Regents of University of California (1st App. Dist., October 2021)

McCann v. City of San Diego (4th App. Dist., October 2021)

Protect Tustin Ranch v. City of Tustin (4th App. Dist., September 2021)

California Renters Legal Advocacy & Education Fund v. City of San Mateo (1st App. Dist., September 2021)


SoMa Tennis Club Supporters Score Win at Appeals Board; Developer Has to Face Planning Again About Removing Courts

By Jay Barnann : sfist – excerpt

Fans of the Bay Club San Francisco Tennis facility, a replacement for which was promised by the developer of the 88 Bluxome complex when the project was approved two years ago, scored a possible win at the Board of Appeals on Wednesday…

But the issue rests on the word “significant,” which figures into the language of the project’s entitlements — and the appeals board agreed with SFFSR’s attorney Anthony Giles that the tennis club is potentially “significant” to the project as a whole. Giles argued that the 3-acre facility constitutes 10% of the overall project, and this all amounted to a “bait and switch.”…(more)

And they can swing the word “significant” any way they wish.

Recall Boudin ad appears to violate state election law

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Andrea Shorter is quoted in the ad; she’s also paid by the campaign. State law says that has to be disclosed.

The six-figure video ad promoting the recall of District Attorney Chesa Boudin appears to violate state law.

The ad, as sfist points out, features Andrea Shorter, who is a paid staffer for the recall effort, as well as Mary Jung, who is the campaign treasurer.

State law requires that campaign ads disclose if anyone featured in the ad is getting paid for their work. The language is pretty clear:…

he problem with this sort of ad campaign is that the Fair Political Practices Commission and the SF Ethics Commission will, maybe, investigate, and maybe, months from now, announce a fine, that will mean nothing to a campaign with gobs of right-wing and Republican money.

The law doesn’t allow the regulators to shut down the ad. It doesn’t force them to admit that the ad was misleading. And the investigations take so long that the election may be over by the time anything happens.

So campaign are free to cheat and foul. With impunity…(more)

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