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New ruling in Los Angeles expands California construction law

Construction is one of California's largest industries, as the state and its municipalities try to stay ahead of an expanding population and more industries drawing workers to the West Coast. The demand for extra residential and commercial space can cause some projects to move too fast or too far, leading to litigation over sites and what can be built there.

A recent case in Los Angeles County resolved a dispute over the level of environmental review required for a project that was moved due to legal opposition. A multinational corporation headquartered in Minnesota requested land-use entitlements for a Hollywood site that would include a three-story department store among other facilities. The city granted several variances for the building's planned height and parking area.

Interested parties filed an appeal, arguing that six of the eight variances were not warranted. During this process, however, the city enacted a new ordinance that allowed for a greater height of buildings without requiring a variance. As a result, the Court of Appeal determined that no further environmental review was required.

This ruling is believed to be the first ruling by a California appeals court on a stalled, half-finished development being cleared for completion by new laws during the process. Decisions like this add to the Golden State's increasing body of construction law.

An attorney is always a good ally during any sort of construction litigation, including basic requirements for zoning and disputes between parties and the community. Legal representation may also help protect construction workers and companies from lawsuits that may block their projects.

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