President's weekly report — July 19, 2013
Property Rights — “Inclusionary Zoning”
We filed a petition for review in California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose after a court of appeal upheld an extraordinary inclusionary zoning ordinance. In this case developers were required to build three lower-income units for every twenty units of market rate housing, or pay an in-lieu fee of $122,000 per unit. The appellate court saw the ordinance as being just like any other zoning ordinance, and even ignored the recent Koontz decision when it was brought to the court’s attention.
Free Enterprise Project — Tort Reform
The California Supreme Court denied review in Collins v. Navistar, the case where the Court of Appeal found a truck manufacturer could be liable because it didn’t design its windshield to withstand a 2 1/2 pound rock dropped from a highway overpass. Who says California’s tort system is out of control? As we pointed out in our blog, this could serve to increase consumer costs.
Economic Liberty Project — Liberty is for the Dogs
We filed an amicus brief inPatterson v. City of Bellmead in the Texas Supreme Court. In that case, a landowner is trying to argue that an ordinance requiring that anyone with more than four dogs register as a kennel. The problem that concerns us is not so much with the ordinance itself, but with the fact that court of appeal refused to allow meaningful discovery and simply deferred to the alleged expertise of the City. As our blog points out, this creates an untenable advantage for government when there is a due process challenge to an ordinance.