land use and entitlements

Undoubtedly, development impact fees (DIFs)[1] can make or break the pro forma of any development project. Until this month, developers hoping to challenge the assessment of project-related DIFs were often limited in the causes of action that could be brought. For instance, in California, a DIF may be challenged under the Mitigation Fee Act (Govt. Code §§ 66000 et seq.), and only DIFs that were “imposed neither generally nor ministerially, but on an individual and discretionary basis” could invoke the Takings Clause embedded in the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.[2] This limitation on developers’ ability to utilize the Takings Clause meant that courts would not apply the “Nollan/Dolan test” to DIFs generally applicable to a broad class of property owners pursuant to legislative action.[3]Continue Reading What the Sheetz: Where California Development Impact Fees Stand Following Recent Supreme Court Decision

Jodi Stein, Eva C. Schneider and Samuel Zarkower’s article “We Say ‘YES’ to the ‘City of Yes’ for Economic Opportunity” was recently featured in the New York Law Journal. The article discusses the City of Yes for Economic Opportunity (COYEO), the second in a trio of Mayor Eric Adams’s City of Yes initiatives to revamp New York City’s Zoning Resolution. This article describes the 18 proposals the comprise COYEO, which aim to support economic growth and resiliency by (1) making it easier for businesses to find space within the city and grow their operations; (2) supporting growing industries; (3) making business-friendly streetscapes that are safer and more walkable; and (4) creating new opportunities for businesses to open and expand.Continue Reading We Say ‘YES’ to the ‘City of Yes’ for Economic Opportunity

The City of Los Angeles’s Planning Department is proposing an expansion to the City’s innovative adaptive reuse policies. Specifically, the City is proposing to amend Sections 12.03, 12.22 A.26, 12.24 X and 16.05 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) and Adaptive Reuse Incentive Areas Specific Plan (Ordinance No. 175,038) in an attempt to reshape the Los Angeles cityscape from 2023 to 2025 by converting vacant commercial spaces into dwelling units, guest rooms or joint living and work quarters (“Citywide Adaptive Reuse Ordinance[1]”). The amendment is intended to facilitate the reuse of existing buildings to address the City’s housing crisis and revitalize Downtown Los Angeles. The conversion of vacant office space will provide a sustainable response to urban development challenges and impacts of the COVID pandemic on the real estate market.Continue Reading Los Angeles Citywide Adaptive Reuse Ordinance: A Push Towards Sustainable Housing

As cities across California grapple with an ongoing housing crisis and stubbornly high office vacancy rates, policymakers at the state and local levels are beginning to explore ways to encourage projects that convert vacant office space into housing. Downtown San Francisco has experienced particularly high office vacancy rates as it recovers from the pandemic, and it is unsurprising that two of the City’s political leaders—Assemblymember Matt Haney and Mayor London Breed—recently took steps to facilitate office-to-residential conversions.Continue Reading Momentum for Streamlining and Subsidizing Office-to-Residential Conversion Projects Builds in Sacramento and San Francisco

On February 23, 2023, the Committee on Housing and Buildings at the New York City Council held a hearing on four local laws and three resolutions, all of which, if passed, would have vast impacts on residential housing development in New York City. While all of these pieces of legislation are important, this blog post focuses predominantly on Intro 196, otherwise known as the Community Opportunity to Purchase Act (“COPA”).Continue Reading The New York City Council Sets its Sights on Non-Profit Housing Ownership

Last week, a trio of bills related to last-mile warehouses were introduced by Council Member Alexa Avilés, and co-sponsored by Council Members Jennifer Gutiérrez (District 34, Williamsburg), Sandy Nurse (District 37, Bushwick), Selvena Brooks-Powers (District 31, Far Rockaway), Julie Won (District 26, Astoria) Shahana Hanif (District 39, Gowanus/Park Slope); and Lincoln Restler (District 33, Downtown Brooklyn), Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and Brooklyn BP Antonio Reynoso. At the press conference, it was expressed that these bills were introduced in order to combat the proliferation of last-mile warehouses in low-income communities of color who are subject to more air and noise pollution as a result of the truck traffic. Continue Reading Last Mile Warehouse Bills and Proposed Special Permit

In an effort to decrease the skyrocketing development costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Assembly Bill 2097 (AB 2097) aims to eliminate a key obstacle for new developments: parking. More specifically, starting on January 1, 2023, this law prohibits public agencies from imposing minimum automobile parking requirements for residential, commercial and other development projects if the project is located within a 1/2-mile of a “High-Quality Transit Corridor”[1] or a “Major Transit Stop.”[2] Continue Reading More Places, Less Spaces: California is Driving Down Development Costs

Sheppard Mullin is pleased to share the first issue of our quarterly LA Land Use Digest, featuring: updates on the latest legislation from the region (The Council File); exemplary, forthcoming projects (In the Pipeline); and commentary on the latest issues of importance for the land use community (Planning Matters).Continue Reading Your Los Angeles Region Land Use Digest

In a case potentially overshadowed by the California Supreme Court’s same-day denial to hear a request to stay a cap on student admissions at UC Berkeley,[1] the Second Appellate District Court (Div. 2) issued its opinion in Crenshaw Subway Coalition v. City of Los Angeles.  This decision found, in effect, that the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) and its State law counterpart, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), do not protect established minority-majority communities against displacement due to gentrification.
Continue Reading Challenge to Housing and Revitalization Project Found Not Cognizable under the Fair Housing Act and California Fair Employment and Housing Act

In Citizens’ Committee to Complete the Refuge et al. v. City of Newark et al., the First District Court of Appeal (Div. 4) found the California Environmental Quality Act did not require subsequent or supplemental environmental review for the City of Newark’s approval of a 469‑lot residential subdivision project.  Instead, the court affirmed the City’s use of Government Code section 65457’s CEQA exemption for projects consistent with a “specific plan” for which a environmental impact report (EIR) was previously certified.
Continue Reading Petitioners Failed to Show Subdivision Consistent With a Specific Plan EIR Was Outside the Scope of a Statutory Exemption

On September 16th, hot off the heels of surviving California’s latest recall effort, Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation aimed at addressing the statewide housing crisis – a critical topic leading up to last week’s election.  The suite of bills, Senate Bills (SB) 8, 9 and 10 and Assembly Bill (AB) 1174, coupled with the recently announced California Comeback Plan, carry the potential to expand housing production, streamline permitting and promote density closer to major employment hubs.
Continue Reading California Enacts New Legislation to Combat Growing Housing Crisis, But Not Without Controversy