California Municipal Law Blog

Summary of Important New Laws Affecting Local Agencies in 2016

by on January 28, 2016

posted in CEQA, Damages, Elections, Employee Benefits, Employment Law, Ethics, Legislative Updates, Medical Marijuana, Proposition 215, Public Records Act, Water, Zoning,

The following laws are effective January 1, 2016, unless otherwise provided.  These legislative changes were selected as those of importance and/or interest to public agencies.  ... Continue Reading

tags: 2016 Legislative Session, California Legislature, New laws,

Court Case Confirms Elected Officials Must Give Appearance of Being Fair at Hearings

by on February 12, 2015

posted in Zoning,

It’s common knowledge that an elected official who has an economic interest in a matter coming before the agency cannot participate in the decision.  But how about an official who has such strong feelings about the application that it seems his or her mind was made up prior to the hearing? In a recent case, Woody’s Group v. City of Newport Beach, the state Court of Appeal underscored existing law by stating that officials must at least give the impression that they are open-minded about the outcome of applications coming before them. A restaurant and bar had filed an application with the ... Continue Reading

tags: Appeals, Bias, Due Process,

FPPC Releases New Rule Covering Conflicts of Interests In Land Use Applications

by on January 27, 2015

posted in Ethics, Zoning,

The Fair Political Practices Commission (“FPPC”) has adopted new rules to determine whether a public official has a conflict of interest when his or her real property interest is located near to a land use application. Under the old rules, if any part of an official’s real property (or interest in real property with a fair market value of $2,000.00 or more) was located within 500 feet of the property lines of a land use application, the official was considered to have a conflict of interest because it was assumed that there would be a material financial effect (whether positive or negative) ... Continue Reading

tags: conflicts of interest, FPPC, Land Use Applications,

U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies How and When Local Agencies Must Communicate Denials of Cell Tower Applications

by on January 26, 2015

posted in Recent Court Decisions, Zoning,

A cellular carrier applies for entitlements to erect a cell tower that a city council finds objectionable.  The council wishes to deny the application.  How and when must the council communicate the reasons for the denial to the applicant? In T-Mobile South, LLC v. City of Roswell, the United States Supreme Court answered these questions.  It confirmed that denials of cell tower applications must be in writing, but not necessarily in a specific format, such as a formal statement of denial.  The Court also clarified that the denial must be communicated about the same time as the denial is made.  ... Continue Reading

tags: Cell Towers, Telecommunications Act of 1996,