Clients - Land Use Litigation

We represent clients in connection with real property disputes involving land use and rent control matters, including:

  1. Litigation to defend land use approvals against judicial challenges;

  2. Litigation to defend EIRs and other CEQA determinations against judicial challenges; and

  3. Litigation challenging the actions of local counties, municipalities and agencies.

We have successfully handled a variety of cases in the trial and appellate courts. A partial list of these cases is:

  • Richeson v. Helal, 158 Cal. App. 4th 268 (2007)

    We were retained to successfully appeal and overturn a trial court decision that would have forced closure of a neighborhood market in Santa Monica notwithstanding recent zoning approvals protecting similar markets. We worked in cooperation with the Santa Monica City Attorney’s office in opposing the litigation filed by an adjacent homeowner. This litigation resulted in a published appellate court opinion in favor of our client.

  • Friends Of Temescal Canyon Inc. v. City of Los Angeles, YMCA, et al.

    We assisted the Palisades YMCA with obtaining the necessary Coastal Development Permit for a long-standing youth day camp and holiday fundraising activities in a portion of Temescal Canyon over the objection of some area neighbors.  The representation culminated in the YMCA’s purchase of this property from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.  We also successfully paired with the Los Angeles City Attorney to defend the approvals against litigation challenging the adequacy of the City’s Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration and finding of consistency with the City’s General Plan.  We prevailed in the Superior Court, and the judgment was affirmed by the Court of Appeal.

  • Pico Neighborhood Association v. City of Santa Monica, Santa Monica College, et al.

    We represented the College in successfully defending an EIR for its main parking structure against a lawsuit claiming that the EIR was legally deficient. We worked in cooperation with the Santa Monica City Attorney’s office in defending against this lawsuit brought by a local neighborhood association.

  • J.P. Morgan v. City of Santa Monica

    In the mid-1980s, we negotiated and obtained approval for a large mixed-use project on a 12-acre site in Santa Monica. As a result of the real estate recession beginning in the 1990s, the project was not built as originally planned. We represented new owners in obtaining a major amendment to the Development Agreement to permit retail and housing as well as office space. The owner and the City were sued by an adjacent landowner based on allegations that the City failed to comply with relevant environmental and land use laws. We successfully represented the land owner in the litigation, including on appeal.

  • Santa Monica Housing Council

    We successfully represented the Santa Monica Housing Council in a series of cases challenging City housing regulations and procedures that impeded the construction of new housing. This litigation contributed to significant reform of City land use and housing regulations and an expansion of new housing construction.

  • Javidzad v. City of Santa Monica, 204 Cal. App. 3d 52 (1988), and City of Santa Monica v. Yarmark, 203 Cal. App. 3d 153 (1988)

    We successfully defended property owners’ use of the Ellis Act (a state law allowing owners of rent controlled properties to go out of the rental housing business). At the time, use of the Ellis Act was contested by a local government asserting that the law was unconstitutional and did not preempt rent control provisions restricting the removal of properties from rental housing use. In two published decisions, the Court of Appeal upheld the constitutionality of the Ellis Act and determined that the Ellis Act preempted the Santa Monica Rent Control Law insofar as it restricted the removal of properties from rental housing use.

  • Vega v. City of West Hollywood, 223 Cal. App. 3d 1342 (1990)

    We successfully argued that local rent control laws must establish a procedure to allow property owners to increase their base date rents on grounds that they were historically low due to peculiar circumstances.

  • Apartment Ass’n of Greater Los Angeles v. Santa Monica Rent Control Bd., 24 Cal. App. 4th 1730 (1994).

    We successfully overturned a local rent control regulation that otherwise barred owners from seeking relief for historically low rents if they had purchased their properties after adoption of the Santa Monica Rent Control Law.

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