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This appeal stemmed from an Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) decision to extend the City of Burlington’s 2011 Conditional Use Determination (2011 CUD), which permitted the City to commence construction on the Champlain Parkway project. Appellant Fortieth Burlington, LLC (Fortieth) challenged ANR’s approval of the permit extension, and the Environmental Division’s subsequent affirmance of that decision, on grounds that the City failed to adhere to several project conditions outlined in the 2011 CUD and was required to redelineate and reevaluate the wetlands impacted by the project prior to receiving an extension, among other reasons. The Environmental Division dismissed Fortieth’s claims, concluding that the project complied with the 2011 CUD’s limited requirements for seeking a permit extension and that Fortieth’s other claims were collateral attacks against the underlying permit and were impermissible. Finding no reversible error, the Vermont Supreme Court affirmed. View "In re Champlain Parkway Wetland Conditional Use Determination (Fortieth Burlington, LLC)" on Justia Law

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Landowners David Neil Harris, Sr., Vecie Michelle Harris (“Harris”) and Clyde H. Gunn III filed suits to confirm title to their waterfront properties in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The State, Jackson County, and the City of Ocean Springs (the “City”) asserted title to a portion of the same waterfront properties claimed by the landowners: a strip of sand beach located south of a road and a seawall. After a full trial on the merits, the chancellor found that the State held title to the sand beach in front of the Harris and Gunn properties as public-trust tidelands. The landowners appealed, but finding no reversible error in the chancellor’s final judgments, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "Harris v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Proposition L was enacted to prohibit the construction of additional billboards within the city limits of Pomona. Plaintiffs filed a petition for a writ of mandate and complaint for declaratory relief, alleging that the city council's adoption of the July 2014 "amendment" to a billboard advertising agreement was in fact a new agreement for new billboards enacted in violation of Prop. L. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's grant of the petition. The court held that plaintiffs had public interest standing to pursue this action, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion by finding that Regency was not indispensable to the litigation. On the merits, the court held that the trial court correctly concluded that Pomona violated its duty to comply with Prop. L by entering into a contract that directly violated its terms. In the alternative, Pomona's exercise of its discretion in such a way as to ignore Prop. L constituted an abuse of that discretion that the court properly could have found arbitrary, capricious, or lacking in evidentiary support. Finally, the court rejected Pomona's argument that the July 2014 agreement was a new contract; affirmed the trial court's award of attorney's fees; and denied sanctions. View "Citizens for Amending Proposition L v. City of Pomona" on Justia Law

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A Settlement Agreement sought to end a longstanding, complex dispute dating from 2008. In 2008, environmental groups led by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (collectively, “SUWA”) challenged six resource management plans (“RMPs”) and associated travel management plans (“TMPs”) adopted by the United States Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”). Six other parties intervened as respondents, including the State of Utah and several counties in Utah (collectively, “Utah”). When BLM, SUWA, and multiple intervenors entered into a settlement and sought to dismiss the case in January 2017, Utah challenged the settlement. Utah contended, among other arguments, that the Settlement Agreement illegally codified interpretative BLM guidance into substantive rules, impermissibly binds the BLM to a past Administration’s policies, infringes valid federal land rights (known as “R.S. 2477 rights”), and violated a prior BLM settlement. The district court disagreed and approved the Settlement Agreement. On appeal to the Tenth Circuit, Utah sought to reverse the district court for primarily the same issues raised at trial. The Tenth Circuit concluded it lacked jurisdiction over the claims and dismissed. View "Southern Utah Wilderness v. Burke" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, the Trustees of Dartmouth College, appealed a superior court order upholding the denial of its application for site plan approval by the Town of Hanover’s Planning Board for the construction of an Indoor Practice Facility (IPF). The planning board denied approval of the application upon finding that it failed to comply with three general considerations of Hanover’s site plan regulations. The superior court upheld the planning board’s decision following a hearing at which several Hanover residents owning properties abutting the proposed site intervened to defend the board’s decision (abutters). After review, the New Hampshire Supreme Court reversed and remanded because the evidence did not reasonably support the trial court’s findings. The certified record confirmed the board based its denial of Dartmouth’s application upon subjective and personal feelings and the trial court unreasonably adopted a rationale not supported by the record to affirm the board’s decision. View "Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Town of Hanover" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) authorizing issuance of a Conservation District Use permit (CDUP) for a Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) near the summit of Mauna Kea, holding that the BLNR property applied the law in analyzing whether the permit should be issued for the TMT. Appellants, Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners, argued that Mauna Kea, as a sacred manifestation of their ancestors, was desecrated by development of astronomy facilities near its summit. The BLNR authorized issuance of the CDUP of the TMT after Third Circuit judge Riki May Amano conducted a contested case hearing over forty-four days. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the BLNR did not err by refusing to disqualify Amano as the hearing officer, and certain Deputy Attorneys General; (2) the TMT project does not violate religious exercise rights of Native Hawaiians protected by federal statutes; (3) the TMT project does not violate public trust principles, and the conditions of Hawai’i Administrative Rules 13-5-30(c) for issuance of a CDUP were satisfied; and (4) the proceeding was legitimate. View "In re Contested Case Hearing re Conservation District Use Application" on Justia Law

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The underlying case concerned a dispute between Allen and Nina Kennemer and the Shelby County Board of Equalization as to the assessed value of real property owned by the Kennemers. The Board informed the Kennemers, by notice dated May 31, 2016, that it had ruled that the fixed value of the property was $122,700 for purposes of assessment. According to the Kennemers, however, the "true and fair value" of the property was $89,405.50. The Kennemers petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari to review whether the Court of Civil Appeals' affirmance, without an opinion, the Circuit Court's dismissal of their appeal of the Board's decision. The Kennemers contended the appellate court's decision conflicted with Shoals Mill Development, Ltd. v. Shelby County Board of Equalization, 238 So. 3d 1253 (Ala. Civ. App. 2017). The Supreme Court agreed: the mailbox rule applied to the filing of a notice of appeal with the Board under section 40-3-25. Accordingly, the Kennemers' notice of appeal was timely filed with the Board, and the circuit court erred in dismissing their appeal of the Board's May 2016 ruling. View "Ex parte Allen Kennemer and Nina Kennemer." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit withdrew its prior opinion filed December 12, 2017, and substituted the following opinion. In National Mining Association v. Zinke, 877 F.3d 845 (9th Cir. 2017), the panel upheld the decision of the Secretary of the Interior to withdraw, for twenty years, more than one million acres of public lands around Grand Canyon National Park from new mining claims. The panel held that that withdrawal did not extinguish "valid existing rights." The panel affirmed, with one exception, the district court's judgment in an action filed by the Tribe and three environmental groups challenging the Forest Service's determination that Energy Fuels had a valid existing right to operate a uranium mine on land within the withdrawal area. The panel held that the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, and not the Mining Act, formed the legal basis of plaintiffs' claim that Canyon Mine should not be exempt from the withdrawal because the valid existing right determination was in error. The panel vacated as to this claim and remanded for reconsideration on the merits. View "Havasupai Tribe v. Provencio" on Justia Law

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The City of San Diego approved a development project at Balboa Park. Most of Balboa Park's Central Mesa was a National Historic Landmark District and the Cabrillo Bridge is a National Historical Landmark. The purpose of the project was to restore pedestrian and park uses to Balboa Park's Central Mesa and to alleviate vehicle and pedestrian conflicts. A new bridge, 'Centennial Bridge,' would connect the eastern end of Cabrillo Bridge to the western side of the Alcazar parking lot. From that point a new 'Centennial Road' would traverse through the Alcazar parking lot exiting to the east, continue to the south past a new Organ Pavilion [underground] parking structure and then connect to Presidents Way. Additional parkland would be provided atop the new parking structure. A tram would provide service from the parking structure to the Plaza de Panama with possible expansion to serve other areas of the Park. Excavation activities required for construction of the underground parking structure would require that the project dispose of excess soils within the inactive Arizona Street Landfill." Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) appealed a judgment denying its petition for writ of mandamus challenging the approval by the City of an environmental impact report (EIR) addendum for revisions to the project. SOHO contended the City's approval of the addendum violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in two respects: (1) CEQA Guidelines section 15164 was invalid because CEQA contained no authority for the addendum process and the addendum process conflicted with CEQA's public review requirements; and (2) the City approved the project revisions without making new findings under section 21081. The Court of Appeal concluded SOHO did not meet its burden of establishing the addendum process was invalid. Furthermore, the Court concluded the City was not required to make findings under section 21081. View "Save Our Heritage Organisation v. City of San Diego" on Justia Law

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The city approved an agreement with PG&E which authorized and imposed conditions on the removal of up to 272 trees within its local natural gas pipeline rights-of-way. The staff report stated that the removal of protected trees constituted a Major Tree Removal Project, requiring tree removal permits and mitigation. PG&E was willing to provide requested information and applicable mitigation but claimed that an exemption from obtaining any discretionary permits. The city agreed to process the project under Lafayette Municipal Code section 6-1705(b)(S), which allows the city to allow removal of a protected tree “to protect the health, safety and general welfare of the community.” The trial court dismissed a challenge. The court of appeal reversed in part. Claims asserted under the planning and zoning law (Government Code 65000), the city’s general plan, and the city’s tree protection ordinance are barred by Government Code 65009(c)(1)(E), as not timely-served. The statute requires that an action challenging a decision regarding a zoning permit be filed and served within 90 days of the decision; the original petition was timely filed on June 26, 2017, but was not served until after the 90-day deadline. The claim under the California Environmental Quality Act (Pub. Resources Code, 21000) was timely filed and served under Public Resources Code 21167(a) and 21167.6(a). View "Save Lafayette Trees v. City of Lafayette" on Justia Law