Land Use Law & Planning Conference Examines California’s Ever-Changing Landscape

Experts discuss precedent-setting legal cases, changing demographics, climate change and more  

California experienced in 2013 a number of precedent-setting court decisions for growth and development, as well as a partial reform of its vast environmental quality regulations. With a growing and more diverse population and continued economic expansion, what new challenges will face city planners, lawyers and others in 2014?

The state’s top land-use attorneys, planners, environmental regulators and developers will gather in Los Angeles later this month to assess the impacts of legal rulings and new laws from 2013 and what to look forward to in 2014 concerning growth in the country’s most populous state.

“There is never a dull moment in California when it comes to how the courts, planners, lawyers, the public, and elected officials decide how California should grow, develop and move people around,” said Margaret M. Sohagi, president of the Sohagi Law Group and conference co-chair. “This conference is critical to anyone involved in the legal or planning end of land development. They need to know how the land use planning landscape is changing and the implications for the future.”

UCLA Extension’s 28th annual Land Use Law and Planning Conference will be held Friday, Jan. 31 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. In just one day, the conference will cover a range of issues such as affordable housing, prevailing wages for public projects, growth control initiatives, the state Legislature’s recent attempt to reform California’s Environmental Quality Act, and major federal and state court rulings involving “just compensation” for those whose property is taken through eminent domain or regulatory actions.

The sessions include a look at the impacts of recent major CEQA lawsuits – including how a neighborhood turned out the lights of a high school sports stadium – by Susan Brandt-Hawley, an attorney with Brandt-Hawley Law Group, and James Moose, a senior partner with Remy Moose Manley, LLP.

Another session reviews U.S. Supreme Court and state “takings” cases led by Michael Berger, partner, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP; and Andrew Schwartz, partner, Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, LLP.

Looking at the implications of California’s changing demographics on land use development will be Jeanette Dinwiddie-Moore, FAICP, principal, Dinwiddie and Associates; Dowell Myers, professor of policy, planning, and demography at USC; and Victor Rubin, vice president for research, PolicyLink.

For the first time, three generations of planning directors for the state’s second-largest city will offer a unique perspective on the ups and downs of shaping San Diego’s growth. This panel will feature William Anderson, the city’s planning director from 2006-2011 and later chair of its planning commission; Gail Goldberg, San Diego’s planning director from 2001-2006 (and later planning director for the city of Los Angeles); and William Fulton, the current planning director.

Wayne Smutz, the new dean at UCLA Extension, will recognize the Hagman Scholars. Scholarships are awarded to students and professors from law schools and graduate planning programs in Southern California, as well as new professionals in the planning and policy field. Two sets of scholarships are named in honor of the late Donald G. Hagman, professor of law at UCLA and who created many continuing education programs in public policy, and the late Joanne L. Freilich, director of the Public Policy Program at UCLA Extension. Hagman and Freilich were dedicated to bringing together attorneys and planners in the land use field, and to better unifying the academic and practitioner worlds.

Conference details and online registration are available at  Seven hours of MCLE credit or seven hours of CM credit for AICP certified planners are available. For information about UCLA Extension’s public policy program, call (310) 825-7903 or type “public policy” on the main website search box.