On June 23, 2016, in Stewart Enterprises, Inc. v. City of Oakland, __ Cal.App.4th __ (2016) (Case No. A143417), the Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District issued an important decision dealing with whether a new legislative enactment may constitutionally deprive a landowner of a vested right conferred by local ordinance. The case arose out of a May 2012 building permit the City of Oakland issued for the construction of a controversial crematorium and the City’s later enactment of an emergency ordinance purporting to require a conditional use permit on new crematoria, including any crematoria that have obtained building permit for which rights to proceed have not yet vested under state law.

Continue Reading Vested Rights Conferred Under Local Ordinance Trump Conditional Use Permit Requirement Later Imposed by Emergency Ordinance

The Second Amendment states that “[a] well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” In District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court held that the Amendment guarantees an individual right to possess firearms for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense. See 554 U.S. 570, 574–626 (2008). The Supreme Court has not yet clarified the entire field of Second Amendment jurisprudence, however, and given that there is an individual right to bear arms for self-defense, there is a growing split in the nation’s lower courts about whether gun sellers have Second Amendment rights.

Continue Reading When Land Use Regulations Collide with the Protections of the Second Amendment

The federal Fair Housing Act is one of the most important pieces of Congressional legislation in the last half-century or more.  It was enacted in the 1960s after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at a time of considerable social unrest.  In that era, governmental entities at all levels had explicit or implicit policies that prevented integration even when developers had an economic rationale for wanting to build more dense or more affordable housing.  Congress thus enacted the FHA “to eradicate discriminatory practices within a sector of our Nation’s economy.”

Continue Reading Rezoning Denial May Give Rise to Liability for Discriminatory Zoning Practices