In Citizens for a Sustainable Treasure Island v. City of County of San Francisco, (1st Dist. 2014) 2014 WL 3057986, the court affirmed the City and County of San Francisco’s approval of a new, 20-year master plan for the total redevelopment of Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island. Petitioner’s main argument on appeal was that the City prejudicially abused its discretion by preparing a project EIR instead of aprogram EIR; the subject EIR characterized itself as a “project EIR” that analyzed all phases of the Project at maximum build out.
In Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court, (2014) 59 Cal.4th 1029, the California Supreme Court held that CEQA review is not required when a local government entity adopts a voter submitted land use initiative directly (and without the need for a public vote), just as CEQA review is not required before voters adopt an initiative at an election.
In Rominger v. County of Colusa, (2014) 229 Cal.App.4th 690, the court held that the approval of a tentative subdivision map was subject to CEQA review categorically – even if a specific development project was yet to be planned. The court further held that CEQA procedural errors (in this case, failure to post public notice of the County’s intent to adopt a mitigated negative declaration (MND) for the full 30 days) constituted abuse of discretions, but such errors are not grounds for reversal unless they are shown to be prejudicial. The court held that the 27-day notice period in this case was not prejudicial. Also, the court rejected arguments that an EIR (as opposed to an MND) was required to address potential agricultural, odor, noise, air quality, greenhouse gas and water supply impacts, but the court agreed that an EIR was required to address potential traffic issues.
In Lynch v. California Coastal Commission, (2014) 229 Cal.App.4th 658, the court of appeal held that a coastal permit applicant could not submit to coastal permit conditions of approval and reserve the right to challenge them in court later. The plaintiffs owned neighboring bluff-top homes in Encinitas, and they applied to the City and the Coastal Commission for permits to reconstruct a seawall, a mid-bluff geogrid protection structure, and a private stairway.
While the application was pending, a severe storm caused the bluff below one of the owner’s houses to collapse and destroyed portions of the existing structures. The Commission granted the permit but with special conditions that precluded building the lower part of the stairway, limited the permit to 20 years, and required the owners to record deed restrictions consistent with these conditions. Instead of challenging the permit conditions right away, the owners submitted to the conditions and recorded the deed restriction.
In City of Pasadena v. Superior Court (2014) 228 Cal.App.4th 1228, the court held that the City of Pasadena might have liability for damage to a house caused by a City-owned street tree that fell during a storm. On November 11, 2011, hurricane-force winds blew down or damaged 5,000 trees in the City, which damaged many homes. The insurance company of one of the damaged homeowners sued the City under negligence and inverse condemnation theories.
CASE UPDATE: Coastal Permit Condition Requiring Beach/Coastal Access Easement Lacked Rational Nexus With Inland Construction Project.
In Bowman v. California Coastal Commission, (2014) —Cal.Rptr.3d– (2014 WL 5390057), the court held that the Coastal Commission and the trial court erred in imposing a lateral coastal access easement as a condition of approval of a coastal development permit (CDP) for the reconstruction of a barn, the remodel of a house, and installation of a new septic system. This case involved two, successive CDP applications to make certain improvements at a single, 400-acre coastal property in San Luis Obispo County.
In Huntington Continental Townhouse Assoc., Inc. v. Miner, (2014) 230 Cal.App.4th 590, the court held that a homeowners’ association (HOA) must accept an owner’s partial payment toward a delinquent HOA assessment balance. In this case, the owner (Miner), stopped making monthly assessment payments and eventually incurred a balance of approximately $6,400.00 in assessments, penalties, fees and costs. The HOA imposed a lien against the owner’s property, had the lien recorded, and then filed a lawsuit to foreclose on the lien.
In Sierra Club v. County of San Diego, (2014) WL 6657169, the court held that the County violated CEQA by failing to implement measures to mitigate greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions that would occur as a result of the County’s 2011 General Plan Update.
The County adopted its General Plan Update based on a Program Environmental Impact Report (“PEIR”). The PEIR included Mitigation Measure CC-1.2, under which the County committed to preparing a climate action plan (“CAP”) with “more detailed greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets and deadlines” and “comprehensive and enforceable GHG emissions reduction measures that will achieve” specified quantities of GHG reductions by the year 2020. However, the court held that the CAP that the County later adopted did not meet the requirements of Mitigation Measure CC-1.2. It found that the County admitted that the CAP would not ensure the required reductions, that many of the emissions reduction measures were unfunded, that the County was not making meaningful efforts to implement or fund transit-related measures, and that the CAP had no deadlines.
CASE UPDATE: Deficiency Judgment Not Allowed Because Bank Failed To Include All Properties Securing Loan In Judicial Foreclosure Sale.
In First California Bank v. McDonald, (2014) 2014 WL 6675937, the court held that a bank/ secured lender could not maintain an action for a deficiency judgment because in the underlying judicial foreclosure action the bank only included one of two properties securing the loan.
The bank made the subject loan to a husband and wife secured by two properties, the “Wasco” property, which was community property, and the “Shafter” property, which was the wife’s sole and separate property. After the husband died, the loan went into default. The bank and the wife agreed to a private sale of the parcel that was her separate property (Shafter), and then the bank filed a lawsuit to foreclose on the remaining parcel and obtain a deficiency judgment. The trial court granted a decree of judicial foreclosure stating that the bank was entitled to obtain a deficiency judgment against the representatives of the husband’s estate, but the court of appeal reversed.
CASE UPDATE: Court Affirms Dismissal Of Quiet Title Claim Even Though Plaintiff’s Name Was Fraudulently Omitted From Prior Deed.
In Lin v. Coronado (2014), 2014 WL 6398772, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s quiet title claim finding that a change that was made to a revised version of a deed that omitted plaintiff’s name was immaterial, and thus, no basis to void the altered deed. The plaintiff, Helen Lin, alleged that she contributed $150,000 toward a $250,000 purchase of property at a trustee sale with two other partners, River Forest and Elevation Investments; that the original version of the trustee’s deed named the transferees as “RIVER FOREST FINANCIAL LLC 75%, ELEVATION INVESTMENTS 25% HELEN LIN”; that the version of the trust deed that was subsequently recorded was altered to omit HELEN LIN from the named transferees (unbeknownst to Lin); that River Forest then quitclaimed its entire interest in the property to Elevation, which then sold the property to the defendant in this case, Mireya Coronado.
CASE UPDATE: Court Rules That A Water Retention Basin At Northstar Ski Resort That Is Causing Water Damage To Nearby Buildings Is A Nuisance, Granting An Injunction..
In Aspen Grove Condominium Assoc. v. CNL Income Northstar LLC, (2014) 231 Cal.App.4th 53, the court of appeal affirmed a trial court order requiring the owners of the Northstar Ski Resort to remove a 20,000 cubic foot water retention basin. Northstar constructed the basin as part of a major expansion of buildings, driveways and parking lots. Despite the fact that Northstar had numerous other areas of its property on which to build the basin, Northstar the basis along a lower boundary if its property, close to neighboring buildings, and apparently without sufficient geotechnical or soils analyses.