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As JMBM government and land use lawyer Sheri Bonstelle explains in the article, “Assembly Bill 1561 provides support for housing development projects,” published by the Daily Journal on September 10, 2020:

“AB 1561 will support housing development by allowing additional time for those with approved housing development projects to obtain financing and building permits and to commence construction during the pandemic, and will allow potential additional analysis in a city’s Housing Element to more specifically identify the housing needs of the community.”

She notes that even before the pandemic-induced recession, California was in the midst of a housing affordability crisis caused by a failure to supply enough new housing for all income levels.

You can read the full article here.

JMBM’s government and land use lawyers represent developers of multi-family housing as well as many other types of projects. Our particular strength is handling all permitting and compliance issues for clients seeking to locate and develop new sites, relocate or expand operations. Please contact us if you would like to discuss how AB 1561 impacts your project. Continue reading

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On June 12th, the California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, filed its decision in Golden Door Properties LLC v. County of San Diego, __ Cal.App. 5th __ (2020) (WL 3119041). In doing so, the Court extended the now decade-long effort of San Diego County to craft an adequate Climate Action Plan (“CAP”): as the Court itself noted, this is its third decision in that effort. The County’s greenhouse gas (“GHG”) reduction plan within the CAP, particularly the use of offsets, provided perhaps the highest and most broad-reaching issues of interest; however, the Court also addressed a number of other alleged shortfalls of the environmental impact report (“EIR”) for the CAP, including the cumulative impacts analysis, alternatives analysis, consistency with applicable plans, and the adequacy of responses to comments. Although the County prevailed on the issue of the consistency of the CAP with the County’s General Plan, and on the sufficiency of responses to comments on the EIR, Petitioners prevailed on the sufficiency of the CAP and overall sufficiency of the EIR under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”).

Substantial analysis concerned a single mitigation measure (M-GHG-1) proposed to reduce GHG emissions from General Plan amendments to net-zero. This is significant because the CAP considered—and applied only to—developments consistent with the County’s 2011 General Plan Update. Measure M-GHG-1 first required projects with increased density above the approved 2011 levels to employ “all feasible” GHG reduction measures, including VMT reductions such as promotion of alternative transportation measures. If on-site measures fail to reduce GHG emissions to CAP-approved levels, a project may then employ off-site measures, including credits from GHG reduction programs worldwide. Continue reading

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by Daniel Freedman and Justin Anderson

Substantial changes to state and local laws governing accessory dwelling units (“ADUs”) went into effect on January 1, 2020, and they have significant implications for single-family and multi-family property owners. ADUs are additional living quarters built within, or on the same lot as, the primary residence. New state laws, including Assembly Bills 68 (Ting) and 881 (Bloom), among others, have placed new restrictions on how local governments and Homeowners Associations can condition and limit new ADUs. They have also created new categories of ADUs, expressly permitted under state law, which require local agencies to provide streamlined approval and permitting procedures. An analysis of the new laws and recent amendments can be found in the State of California’s Department of Housing and Community Development’s (“HCD”) ADU Technical Assistance Memorandum.

Continue reading

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LOS ANGELESThe Government, Land Use, Environment and Energy Department at Jeffer Mangels Butler and Mitchell (JMBM) is pleased to announce its inclusion in the 2020 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms.” The Department received a ranking of National Tier 1 – the highest possible ranking – in Land Use & Zoning Law.

“We are honored to have been listed once again as a National Tier 1 practice,” said Benjamin Reznik, Chair of the Government, Land Use, Environment & Energy Department. “This recognition reflects the dedication and creativity of JMBM’s Land Use attorneys, who provide outstanding results to our clients, including winning lawsuits with complex issues and unusual circumstances.”

The “Best Law Firms” rankings recognize the top law firms in the country for professional excellence based on peer review. The National Tier 1 designation is based on a rigorous process that includes client and lawyer evaluations, and peer review from leading lawyers.

About JMBM
Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP is a full-service law firm committed to providing clients with outstanding results. From our offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Orange County, we serve our clients’ needs worldwide. For more information about our attorneys and our services, visit JMBM.com.

About JMBM’s Government, Land Use, Environment and Energy Department
JMBM’s government, land use, environment, and energy lawyers represent a wide range of industries, businesses, trade groups and individuals before every level of government, and in litigation. We routinely advocate for our clients’ interests before the myriad of regulatory authorities, administrative agencies and elected bodies that govern business and development activities. Our negotiation expertise and lobbying experience includes representing clients seeking to locate and develop new sites, relocate, expand operations, and all related permitting and compliance.

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LOS ANGELES—The 2020 edition of “Best Lawyers in America” in the U.S. News & World Report lists Benjamin M. Reznik, Chair of the Government, Land Use, Environment & Energy Department at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP (JMBM), as “Lawyer of the Year” in the area of Land Use and Zoning in Los Angeles. Only a single lawyer in a specific practice area and designated region are honored each year.

Best Lawyers in America® is based on a comprehensive peer-review survey in which tens of thousands of top lawyers evaluate the legal abilities of other lawyers within their practice areas.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by my peers, and an honor to work with such talented lawyers at JMBM,” said Reznik. “This recognition reflects the work of our entire team of land use attorneys.”

JMBM land use attorney David Cincotta was included as a Best Lawyer in the area of Land Use and Zoning in San Francisco. A total of 17 attorneys from JMBM’s three offices – Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orange County – were included on the list of 2020 Best Lawyers in America®.

About JMBM’s Government, Land Use, Environment and Energy Department
JMBM’s government, land use, environment, and energy lawyers represent a wide range of industries, businesses, trade groups and individuals before every level of government, and in litigation. We routinely advocate for our clients’ interests before the myriad of regulatory authorities, administrative agencies and elected bodies that govern business and development activities. Our negotiation expertise and lobbying experience includes representing clients seeking to locate and develop new sites, relocate, expand operations, and all related permitting and compliance.

Contact:
Ben Reznik
BMR@jmbm.com

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LOS ANGELES — On behalf of the Ventura County Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business (CoLAB), Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP (JMBM) filed a lawsuit in Superior Court against the County of Ventura challenging a Wildlife Corridor Ordinance that rezones more than 160,000 acres and imposes complex new rules and restrictions on businesses and landowners of thousands of parcels.

“I’ve never seen regulations affecting over 160,000 acres of land go into effect without any environmental review,” said Benjamin M. Reznik, Chair of JMBM’s Government, Land Use, Environment & Energy Group. “Relying on obscure exemptions to California’s environmental laws in a regulation of this magnitude is highly unusual.”

The lawsuit states: “Despite the laudable purpose—and CoLAB supports reasonable efforts to minimize impacts to wildlife movement within the County—many of the Ordinance’s regulations are legally flawed and scientifically unsupportable.” The lawsuit also states that the Ordinance is in conflict with the County’s own General Plan.

“The restrictions this ordinance imposes on property owners are likely to have a serious negative impact on property owners’ ability to use their land, which will also effect property values” said Reznik.

JMBM has also filed a lawsuit on behalf of the California Construction and Industrial Materials Association (CalCIMA) against the County of Ventura, challenging the Wildlife Corridor.

Ben Reznik is the Chair of JMBM’s Government, Land Use, Environment and Energy Department. His practice emphasizes real estate development entitlements, zoning and environment issues, including frequent appearances before city planning commissions, city councils and other governmental boards and agencies on behalf of real estate development firms and various industries. Reach him at BMR@JMBM.com or 310. 201.3572.

About JMBM’s Government, Land Use, Environment and Energy Department
JMBM’s government, land use, environment, and energy lawyers represent a wide range of industries, businesses, trade groups and individuals before every level of government, and in litigation. We routinely advocate for our clients’ interests before the myriad of regulatory authorities, administrative agencies and elected bodies that govern business and development activities. Our negotiation expertise and lobbying experience includes representing clients seeking to locate and develop new sites, relocate, expand operations, and all related permitting and compliance.

About Ventura County Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business (CoLAB)
CoLAB is a 501(c)6 non-profit membership organization formed in 2010 to support land-based and industrial businesses including farming, ranching, oil, mining, and service, and to promote sensible and rational local government.

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By Martin Stratte for Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP

In August 2018, the California Court of Appeal decided Citizens Coalition Los Angeles v. City of Los Angeles, 26 Cal.App.5th 561 (2018), commonly referred to as “Target II,” which arose from a years-long challenge by citizen activist organizations to the development of a Super Target in Hollywood, California.

As discussed below, the court was asked to resolve the following issue of first impression: what level of environmental review is required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for a legislative action that re-designates a project site for the purpose of mooting pending litigation that was filed in opposition to an already approved project?

In essence, what the City of Los Angeles did was re-zone the site of a previously approved Super Target to remove the need for the variances that were adopted in support of the project, which the trial court had struck down in the litigation commonly referred to as “Target I.”

Background

Target applied to the City of Los Angeles (City) for land use entitlements to develop an approximately 75-foot high, three-story Super Target at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Western Avenue in Hollywood, California, the top floor of which would contain the 163,862 square foot “Superstore.”

The City certified an EIR for the Target project and granted eight exceptions (variances) so that the project could exceed height and parking-space restrictions, among others.  Thereafter, two citizen activist organizations filed a petition for writ of mandate alleging: 1) the project violated CEQA; and 2) the variances violated the City’s Municipal Code because they were not supported by substantial evidence.  Target proceeded with construction while the litigation was pending; that litigation is commonly referred to as “Target I.”

The trial court denied the petitioners’ CEQA claim in Target I, but found that six of the eight variances were not supported by substantial evidence.  Accordingly, the court ordered Target to stop construction.  Target filed an appeal and the petitioners filed a cross-appeal. Continue reading

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Los Angeles—Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP (JMBM) is pleased to announce it has been ranked as a Los Angeles Metropolitan Tier 1 2019 “Best Law Firm” for Land Use & Zoning Law by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers. This distinction is achieved by capturing the consensus opinion of clients and professional references about the abilities of the firm.

“We have assembled some of the most talented and experienced lawyers who specialize in land use and zoning and are extremely grateful to be awarded this recognition,” said Ben Reznik, Chair of JMBM’s Government, Land Use, Environmental & Energy Group. “Our goal has always been to provide exceptional service and to emphasize the success and priorities of our clients.”

Additionally, JMBM earned a National Tier 1 ranking for its Trusts and Estate practice, and numerous Metropolitan Tier 1 rankings across all three of its offices including:

Los Angeles: Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense – White-Collar, Litigation – Trusts & Estates, Tax Law, Trademark Law, Trusts & Estates Law

Orange County: Litigation – Patent

San Francisco:
Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Litigation – Bankruptcy, Mediation

The “Best Law Firms’ rankings follow the recent 2019 edition of Best Lawyers in America in which 19 JMBM attorneys were recognized.

About JMBM’s Government, Land Use, Environment and Energy Department
JMBM’s government, land use, environment, and energy lawyers represent a wide range of industries, businesses, trade groups and individuals before every level of government, and in litigation. We routinely advocate for our clients’ interests before the myriad of regulatory authorities, administrative agencies and elected bodies that govern business and development activities. Our negotiation expertise and lobbying experience includes representing clients seeking to locate and develop new sites, relocate, expand operations, and all related permitting and compliance.

About Best Law Firms
The Best Law Firms designation is based on a rigorous process that includes client and lawyer evaluations, and peer review from leading lawyers. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be ranked for inclusion. Firms are evaluated on expertise, responsiveness, understanding clients’ businesses and needs, cost-effectiveness, integrity and a number of other factors. For more information see bestlawfirms.usnews.com.

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Companies doing business in California are well-acquainted with the required Proposition 65 signs and labels that warn consumers of exposure to specific chemicals that are known to the State of California to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.

Beginning August 30th, new regulations go into effect that change the language used for all Prop 65 warnings. The new warning language changes depending on whether the chemical(s) listed are (1) only for cancer, (2) only for reproductive toxicity, (3) for both cancer and reproductive toxicity (lead, for example), or (4) include one chemical causing cancer and another chemical causing reproductive toxicity.  The new warnings can be used now, but are required to be used as of August 30th.

The warnings must also include one of a number of new URLs to the applicable locations on the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s website.

In addition, the new regulations:

  • Include a number of new “tailored” warnings that are specific to certain products or environmental exposure scenarios;
  • Include short form warnings available for use on small products or packages;
  • Provide more clarity as to what will be considered to be a “clear and reasonable” warning by providing express “safe harbor” warnings;
  • May change the allocation of liability between retailers and manufacturers, distributors or producers, where indemnity agreements do not already exist.

Because it is required to list one or more chemicals by name in many of the new warnings, companies need to determine exactly which chemical or chemicals should be identified.

Companies need to pay close attention to the required details. For example, in some cases, not only does the language of the warning need to change, but so do the font sizes and signage sizes.

If you would like to consult with an environmental attorney with experience in Prop 65 regarding the new requirements, please contact us.

Jodi Smith is an environmental and land use attorney who represents real estate developers, commercial property owners, manufacturers, energy project developers, and waste management companies. She represents clients in real estate transactions and corporate mergers and acquisitions involving contaminated property and management of environmental liabilities. Jodi also represents manufacturing companies, retailers, hotels, and others regarding Proposition 65. Contact Jodi at jsmith@jmbm.com or 415.984.9639.

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Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP (JMBM) is proud to announce 18 of its attorneys have been selected by their peers for inclusion in the list of Best Lawyers in America®  for 2018.

Among those, three are members of JMBM’s Government, Land Use, Environment and Energy Group: Benjamin Reznik and David Cincotta.

Benjamin M. Reznik, Chair of JMBM’s Government, Land Use, Environment and Energy Group
Ben’s practice emphasizes real estate development entitlements, zoning and environment issues, including frequent appearances before city planning commissions, city councils and other governmental boards and agencies on behalf of real estate development firms and various industries. Ben leads a group of distinguished attorneys that specialize in  CEQA and NEPA, air emissions, energy, licensing, government contracts, and has been described by Curbed LA as “the most powerful lobbyist in LA”.  Since joining JMBM in 1997, Ben has obtained project approvals for several million square feet of commercial space and several thousand  residential units valued in excess of $50 billion.

David Cincotta, Of Counsel, Land Use Law

David Cincotta specializes in obtaining land use entitlements for large commercial, mixed-use and residential developments in San Francisco and throughout Northern California. His practice focuses on land use, zoning and environmental law, and includes real estate transactions, real estate financing and historic preservation law. He is experienced in negotiating and documenting purchases, sales, commercial leases and financing of land and buildings for both commercial and residential projects. His clients include publicly owned corporations, real estate investment trusts, individuals, small firms and foundations with a concentration on real estate developers and property owners.

We congratulate all our lawyers who were honored by Best Lawyers® and recognize their dedication to providing our clients with outstanding results and exemplary service.