November 2011 Archives

CEQA: Sunnyvale Court Affirms Use of Multiple Baseline Scenarios in EIRs

November 23, 2011


Neill Brower

A recent court decision upheld the use of multiple scenarios in a traffic analysis in an environmental impact report ("EIR") for a redevelopment project. On November 22, 2011, the Sixth District of the California Court of Appeal certified for publication its decision in Pfeiffer v. City of Sunnyvale City Council ("Pfeiffer"), Case No. H036310, which rejected, among other claims, a challenge to an EIR traffic analysis that used future baseline scenarios to evaluate impacts. The decision highlights and reinforces (1) the necessity of discussing existing conditions in addition to other scenarios that may provide more useful information regarding project impacts; and (2) the importance of substantiating a decision to deviate from existing conditions as the analytical baseline.

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Why is L.A. determined to treat the Deputy Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia unfairly?

November 9, 2011

Ben Reznik

Why is the City of Los Angeles singling out the Deputy Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia and forcing him to follow procedures never before imposed on others in order to allow him to build his home in the Benedict Canyon neighborhood of Los Angeles?

That's a question being raised following the recent Vanity Fair article written by Michael Shnayerson, There Goes the Neighborhood, about my client Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, the current Deputy Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia.

For some inexplicable reason, the City of Los Angeles Planning Department is erroneously maintaining and insisting that the Prince's entity developing the project, Tower Lane Properties, Inc., must undergo additional, unnecessary and inapplicable steps in the plan check review process, before the project is cleared for construction. However, other similarly-sized residential projects in Benedict Canyon and nearby neighborhoods were built without being subjected to any such additional review whatsoever. A 35,046 square-foot home on North Carolwood Drive, a 45,891 square-foot home on Bel Air Road, and a 52,503 square-foot home on S. Mapleton Drive, to name a few, were all built without the City of Los Angeles subjecting them to this procedure. It's not even the largest residential project in the area. [SOURCE: City of Los Angeles Department of City Planning, Los Angeles County Assessor's Office]

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Vanity Fair visits Benedict Canyon and exposes the real motivation of opponents to home of Saudi Prince

November 3, 2011

Ben Reznik

Vanity Fair reporter Michael Shnayerson recently visited the Los Angeles hillside neighborhood of Benedict Canyon to report on a proposed residential project by JMBM client Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Deputy Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia. Shnayerson's article, There Goes the Neighborhood, includes interviews with some of the property's high profile neighbors and sheds light on what is really driving the opposition.

Tower Lane Properties, Inc., the prince's entity seeking to build the project, has reached out to the surrounding community, heard the community's issues and concerns, and has come forward with new, revised plans that reduce the project's size and significantly reduce project-related truck traffic. Tower Lane Properties, Inc. is committed to maintaining an open and ongoing dialogue with area neighbors to ensure that this residential development on private property can move forward.

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JMBM's Land Use And Zoning Practice receives national first-tier ranking and metropolitan first tier ranking (Los Angeles)

November 1, 2011

Best Law Firms BadgeJeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP (JMBM) is pleased to announce its land use practice has been selected for inclusion in the U.S. News & World Report / Best Lawyers® list of Best Law Firms. JMBM achieved a National First-Tier Ranking and a Metropolitan First-Tier Ranking (Los Angeles) in the area of Land Use and Zoning Law.

"Land use is where the law, politics and community all intersect and navigating a client's project through this intersection can be quite treacherous," said Benjamin M. Reznik, Chair of JMBM's Government, Land Use, Environment and Energy Department. "My colleagues and I are honored to have our work recognized by inclusion in the list of Best Law Firms," he said.

The Best Law Firms designation is based on client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and a formal submission process. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers "the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice."

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