In Rancho Mirage County Club Homeowners Association v. Hazelbaker, (2016) 2 Cal.App.5th 252, the court of appeal affirmed a trial court award of attorneys’ fees to an HOA in a lawsuit filed to enforce the terms of a settlement agreement with a homeowner. The homeowner applied for and received approval from the HOA’s architectural review committee to make certain improvements to a patio area, however, the HOA contended that the homeowner made improvements that exceeded the scope of the approval and which would not have been approved had they been included in the application.
In La Mirada Neighborhood Assoc. of Hollywood v. City of Los Angeles, (2016) 2 Cal.App.5th 586, the court of appeal dismissed as moot an appeal of the City of Los Angeles’s approval of a large development for the Target Corporation, which included a 75-foot building. Approving the project, the City granted Target six exceptions from development restrictions contained in the applicable specific plan, which included a prohibition on commercial buildings taller than 35 feet. The plaintiff neighborhood sued, arguing that the City had not made the requisite findings of “exceptional conditions”, which were necessary to justify the exceptions. The trial court agreed and ordered the cessation of all construction activities. Target then filed an appeal, and during the pendency of the appeal, the City adopted several amendments to the specific plan, such that the project was not reliant on the City making exceptions to the specific plan’s development restrictions. The court of appeal then dismissed the appeal as moot.
©2016 Miles J. Dolinger. This article is not intended to and does not constitute legal advice or a solicitation for the formation of an attorney-client relationship.
CASE UPDATE: A City’s General Plan Amendment Eliminating Minimum Residential Density Requirements Is Not Exempt From CEQA.
In People for Proper Planning v. City of Palm Springs (2016), 2016 WL 3005719, an affordable housing advocacy group filed a lawsuit challenging City of Palm Springs’s adoption of a general plan amendment (GPA) removing minimum density requirements for each residential development. The trial court ruled that the GPA was exempt from environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), but the court of appeal reversed on this issue.
Sciarratta v. U.S. Bank National Association, (2016) 202 Cal.Rptr.3d 219, is another in a series of wrongful foreclosure cases working their way through the courts of appeal. In this case, the borrower, Sciarratta, was foreclosed on after becoming $15,000.00 in arrears on a $620,000.00 loan.
At the May 10, 2016 Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors meeting, County staff presented their recommendations for a new commercial cannabis cultivation ordinance. Those recommendations were informed by a report of the Board-appointed Cannabis Cultivation Choices Committee (“C4”), with follow up input by some of the Supervisors. The staff report can be found at: http://santacruzcountyca.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=1189&Inline=True
(See page 459 to the end, which is agenda item 53.)
The staff report is fairly complicated. (For example, it states that the C4 group voted on 84 different issues.) The main subjects of the proposed ordinance will include: minimum parcel sizes, maximum permitted canopy sizes, and zoning; setbacks; exceptions; taxes and fees; and license and registration requirements.
CASE UPDATE: Court Awards $100,000.00 in Attorneys’ Fees Against HOA Member in Dispute About Short-Term Vacation Rentals
In Almanor Lakeside Villas Owners Association v. Carson, (6th Dist. 2016) 246 Cal.App.4th 761, the court of appeal affirmed a trial court judgment awarding the homeowners’ association (HOA) approximately $100,000.00 in attorneys’ fees. The HOA filed a complaint against a member of the HOA in order to enforce $20,000.00 in fines and related fees for rule violations related to the member’s leasing of its two properties as short-term vacation rentals, which was prohibited by the CC&Rs.
CASE UPDATE: Wrongful Foreclosure Plaintiff Can Challenge The Validity Of The Assignment Of The Underlying Note And Deed Of Trust.
In Yvanov v. New Century Mortg. Corp., (2016) 62 Cal.4th 919, the California Supreme Court resolved a split of authority in the appellate courts and held that a borrower who has suffered a nonjudicial foreclosure has standing to sue for wrongful foreclosure based on an argument that the foreclosing loan beneficiary and trustee lack foreclosure authority because the loan was not properly assigned. Generally speaking, “standing” is a constitutional requirement that a plaintiff in a lawsuit have a legally protectable and tangible interest at stake in the litigation.
CASE UPDATE: Landlord Cannot Terminate A Residential Tenancy Based On A Violation Of A Lease Term That Is Not “Material”.
In Boston LLC v. Juarez, (2016) 245 Cal.App.4th 75, the court held that it was not proper for a landlord to terminate a residential tenancy and evict a tenant under a three-day notice based on the fact that the tenant failed to obtain renter’s personal injury and property damage insurance, as required by the lease. The court further held that in order to enforce a forfeiture provision in a lease, the tenant’s breach must be “material”, i.e., substantial, even if the forfeiture provision does not require a breach to be material. In this case, the court reasoned that the breach was not material because the insurance requirement only protected the tenant’s interests, not the landlord’s, and because the landlord otherwise failed to prove how it was harmed by the tenant not obtaining renter’s insurance after having lived at the premises for 15 years without this term being enforced.
The Santa Cruz Sentinel recently reported on the Santa Cruz City Council’s approval of a new 32-unit condominium project to be constructed at 1800 Soquel Avenue at the intersection of Hagemann Avenue, which is the current site of May’s Sushi Bar & Grill. (Santa Cruz Council Green Lights New Condo Development, 4/13/16.) The article described this project as, “a test case for the city’s in-development “Corridor Plan,” calling for increased density of residential and commercial growth along major city roads….” The project consists primarily of one-bedroom and studio units, and will provide much needed relatively affordable housing in the City.
The Santa Cruz City Council and the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors have already decided, as a matter of land use policy, that the best places to add the substantial amount of new housing that is needed in Santa Cruz are along the four main thoroughfares – Mission Street, Water Street, Soquel Avenue/Soquel Drive, and Ocean Street. The basic idea is to site new, dense residential development near bikeways and public transportation routes in hopes that a significant amount (10%? 20%?) of new residents will bike and/or take the bus instead of driving (at least some of the time), in order to minimize traffic and other impacts in the urban boundary area overall.
CASE UPDATE: Court Affirms Coastal Commission’s Authority to Issue Cease, Desist and Restoration Orders Regarding Extensive Development in the Coastal Zone Conducted Without Coastal Development Permits..
Hagopian v. State (2nd Dist. 2014), 2014 WL 265517, involved a challenge to Coastal Commission permitting and enforcement authority brought by egregious Coastal Act violators. The plaintiffs purchased undeveloped coastal zone property in the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles County (“Parcel 24”). At the time, L.A. County did not have a certified Local Coastal Program, and so the Coastal Commission was the coastal development permit issuing authority.