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James E. Pugh is a partner in the Real Estate, Energy, Land Use & Environmental Practice Group in the firm's Los Angeles and Orange County offices, and he is Team Leader of the firm's Sustainability Committee.

In Anderson v. City of San Jose (2019), the Sixth District Court of Appeal held that California’s charter cities must comply with the Surplus Land Act (Govt. Code § 54220 et seq.).[1] This decision, essentially, ruled that the statewide housing crisis is of paramount importance, and that all cities – even charter cities – must yield to the state law processes governing surplus land disposition and give affordable housing preference when building on surplus city land.
Continue Reading Appellate Court Holds Charter Cities Are Bound By State Housing Objectives, Signaling Erosion of Local Discretion

On June 13, 2017, the City of Los Angeles released its new Hollywood Community Plan (“Plan”) draft. The current plan dates back to 1988. In 2012, the City adopted an update to the community plan that was subsequently litigated and then rescinded by a Superior Court ruling. Thus, for the last several years, the City has used the 1988 community plan to guide land use decisions in Hollywood while adjusting to modern development trends in the area.
Continue Reading City of Los Angeles Releases Draft Hollywood Community Plan Update

Simply stated: “[a] collateral attack is not a substitute for an appeal” reasoned the Second Appellate District Court in Bowman v. California Coastal Commission (2nd Dist., Div. 6, 03/18/2014, B243015) ___Cal.App.2nd___, 2014).[1]  This is a case where the Coastal Commission and environmental groups found common ground challenging a coastal development permit issued by the County of San Luis Obispo.  The case reiterates the importance of exhausting remedies during – not after – permit approval proceedings.  However, the rationale for the decision—collateral estoppel—because of the issuance of a prior coastal development permit at the same location for a similar project was unusual.  Perhaps too unusual, as the court on April 15, 2014 granted a rehearing on its own motion and indicated it contemplated further briefing.
Continue Reading Bright Line Rule: Collateral Estoppel Precludes Attacks on Quasi-Judicial Permit Decisions (But Stay Tuned: Rehearing Granted on the Court’s Own Motion)