US v. 1.57 Acres of Land

US District Court, S.D. California, No. 12cv3055-LAB (MDD), September 8, 2015: Non-economic value of conservation easement excluded in valuation of taking.

This decision is about excluding evidence in a trial to determine how much the United States must compensate the County of San Diego for taking a small parcel of land subject to a conservation easement. The [...]

La Mirada v. Los Angeles

Court of Appeals of California, Second District, Division Eight, No. B259672, September 9, 2015: Building and occupancy permits void after demolition in excess of permit.

In this mandamus action, demolition, building and occupancy permits issued by the City of Los Angeles were declared void because the entire structure was demolished, contrary to previously issued permits which required [...]

In Re Dekoning

US Bankruptcy Court, ED California Fresno Div., No. 13-16634-13-13, August 27, 2014: Conservation easement may not diminish market value of debtor’s residence in bankruptcy.

In this bankruptcy matter, the Debtor, Dekoning, sought to have the court accept a fair market value of his residence low enough so a mortgage holder would be deemed an unsecured creditor. The [...]

Mountanos v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

U.S. Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2013-138,June 3, 2013: Deduction for conservation easement denied because more valuable highest & best use before donation not proven.

Taxpayer/petitioner (Mountanos) granted a conservation easement on an 882 acre California ranch in 2005 and claimed a deduction (spread over four years) of about $4.6 million for the value of the easement. The [...]

Tresch v. County Of Sonoma

California Court of Appeals, 1st District, Division 4, No. A133472, January 4, 2013: California county’s resolution clarifying conservation easement not subject to environmental impact review. (Unpublished)

In connection with a proposed quarry operation on adjacent land, a conservation district adopted a resolution interpreting an existing conservation easement to permit the establishment of a wildlife preserve on agricultural [...]

Wooster v. Dept. of Fish and Game

Cal. Court of Appeal, 3rd Appellate Dist., No. C068816, November 26, 2012: Validates conservation easement hunting ban despite failure to post land.

This decision is marked “Not to Be Published”, meaning it is not generally citable as precedent. See comment below.

Plaintiff/appellant Wooster’s 4,535 acre property is subject to a conservation easement deed and agreement held by the [...]

Building Industry Association v County of Stanislaus

Court of Appeals of California, Fifth District, No. F058826, Filed November 29, 2010: Upholds the facial validity of the County’s Farmland Mitigation Program provision that conversion of farmland to residential development requires the grant of an agricultural conservation easement over an equivalent area of comparable farmland, with some exceptions.

Stanislaus County adopted the Farmland Mitigation Program (FMP) [...]

Or Khaim Hashalom v City Of Santa Monica

Court of Appeals of California, Second District, Division Three, No. B212733, November 22, 2010: California’s statutory exemption from historic preservation for noncommercial property owned by a religious organization does not apply to a building that has been a commercial, for-profit apartment building since it was built and was not at the time of the application for [...]

Friends of the Juana Briones House v City Of Palo Alto

Court of Appeals of California, Sixth District, No. H033275, October 27, 2010: Issuance of a permit under Palo Alto Ordinance to demolish a historic landmark residence does not trigger California Environmental Quality Act review because it is a ministerial, not discretionary, act under the CEQA Guidelines, the California Sixth District Appeals Court held. This is an [...]

California Farmland Conservancy Program Act Signed

California, Sept. 30, 2010: “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed … SB1142, by Sen. Pat Wiggins, D-Santa Rosa, which aims to expand the sources of grant money that the state can use to preserve farmland through easements. The bill allows the state to buy farmland-conservation easements that also require some environmental aim, like preservation of wildlife habitat. [...]

Sterling v California Coastal Commission

Superior Court of California, No. Civ 482448, June 18, 2010: Trial court finds an unconstitutional taking in Commission’s requirement that plaintiff grant a perpetual agricultural easement for “active agricultural use” of 140 acres as a condition for a permit to build a house. The requirement failed the “essential nexus” test of Nollan v. California Coastal Commission, [...]

Backcountry Against Dumps v Abbott

United States District Court, E.D. California. CIV. S-10-394 FCD/KJN, June 8, 2010: The court granted the power company’s motion for transfer of venue of this transmission line case to the Southern District of California from the Eastern District because “there is little, if any, nexus between the claims alleged and the Eastern District” and “very substantial [...]

USDA: $175M in Funding for Wetlands Reserve Program

USDA announced May 14, 2010, that $175 million in funding is available for the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Wetlands Reserve Program. USDA says that funding will add 75,000 additional acres to the approximately 2.2 million acres currently enrolled in the program. The funding will go to wetland conservation projects in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, [...]

Academy of Our Lady of Peace v San Diego

United States District Court, S.D. California. No. 09cv962-WQH-AJB.
April 1, 2010

The court rejected summary judgment and injunctive relief motions by a religious school (OLP) that alleged the City’s refusal to issue permits for “modernization” of the school was a violation by the City of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (“RLUIPA”), 42 U.S.C. [...]

Babcock v. City Of Laguna Beach

Court Of Appeal Of California, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three, UNPUBLISHED, January 27, 2010

The decision upholds a city’s approval of an open space zoning ordinance and overturns the trial court’s decision to invalidate the ordinance. The appeals court held that the plaintiff private landowner (Babcock) could not prevail in an action to invalidate the ordinance because, [...]