Kelly M. Rem is a Partner in Lozano Smith's Walnut Creek Office. Ms. Rem specializes in Facilities and Business law and Litigation.
Ms. Rem has extensive experience advising clients regarding CEQA issues, including procedural requirements, deadlines and statutes of limitation, exemptions, and adequacy of environmental impact reports and other documents. She represented the California School Boards Association as amicus curiae
in the matter of Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley
, a recent CEQA case before the California Supreme Court. She also has extensive eminent domain experience, and assists school districts with a variety of real property issues including sale and lease transactions, land use and zoning issues, and surplus property requirements. Ms. Rem is experienced in reviewing and providing advice to clients relating to various types of business contracts. She also regularly advises clients regarding school facilities fees and construction matters.
Ms. Rem has presented at various events including the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO) annual conference and local workshops, and Lozano Smith's Facilities and Business workshops and webinars. She is particularly experienced in presenting topics related to purchasing, public bidding, and construction issues.
Ms. Rem received her Juris Doctor degree from University of California, Hastings College of the Law. As a student, she worked as a Senior Articles Editor for the Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal
. She also authored an article entitled Idea Protection in California: Are Writers Too Readily Compensated for Their Ideas?
28 HASTINGS COMM. & ENT. L.J. 333 (2006).
She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan, where she was a member of the Delta Epsilon Iota National Honor Society, and participated in a Summer Study Abroad Program in Dublin, Ireland.
Ms. Rem is admitted to the Central District of California.
Many school districts throughout the state have recently received one or more California Public Records Act (CPRA) requests from the California Taxpayers Action Network (CalTAN) and the Carlin Law Group regarding lease-leaseback (LLB) transactions. CalTAN and the Carlin Law Group filed multiple lawsuits against school districts in the past regarding lease-leaseback practices, and this CPRA request may be a precursor to future litigation.
The first of the recent CPRA...
A California court has confirmed that school districts are authorized to assess Level 1 developer fees against interior common areas of apartment buildings, including hallways and walkways.
School districts have received pushback from developers regarding whether "assessable space" includes interior common areas. With its decision in 1901 First Street Owner, LLC v. Tustin Unified School District, the court has provided districts with legal authority for imposing fe...
The State Allocation Board (SAB) has increased the amount of "Level 1" developer fees that school districts are authorized to collect to $3.79 per square foot of residential development and $0.61 per square foot of commercial development. The increase takes effect immediately, and may now be implemented by school districts through local action.
The new rates, which the SAB approved on January 24, 2018, represent an 8.78 percent increase over the maximum amounts a...
Governor Jerry Brown has signed four bills that update purchasing rules related to school food and nutrition programs and improve access to healthy food. Each of these bills will take effect January 1, 2018.
Senate Bill 544: Bill Offers Clarity on Food Contract Award Rules
Senate Bill (SB) 544 resolves an inconsistency between state and federal law regarding the award of contracts in support of child nutrition programs by clarifying that school districts can c...
The Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled that the execution of a purchase and sale agreement for real property that is contingent upon compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) does not trigger a public agency's duty to prepare an environmental impact report (EIR) under CEQA.
The California Environmental Quality Act
CEQA is a complicated body of law which requires public entities to consider environmental effects of their projects ...
A California court decision has cleared the way for eligible school districts to begin charging Level 3 developer fees to fund new school construction.
The Third District Court of Appeal had previously issued a "stay," or a legal hold, on a decision from the Sacramento County Superior Court that would allow eligible districts to collect Level 3 fees. On November 1, 2016, the court denied a request from the California Building Industry (CBIA) to continue the stay. Immediate...
Effective January 1, 2017, a new claims resolution process will be required for all public works projects. On September 29, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown approved Assembly Bill (AB) 626, which adds section 9204 to the Public Contract Code. The law is aimed at assisting contractors in enforcing claims against public agencies. Currently, the law requires public agencies to follow a certain claims process for claims that are $375,000 or less. Section 9204 will apply to all c...
School districts selling or leasing surplus property are no longer required to first offer that property to interested charter schools. The requirement has expired and is no longer effective as of July 1, 2016.
Surplus property is real property belonging to a school district that is not needed for school classroom buildings. Before a school district can dispose of surplus property, it must generally take certain steps, which include making written offers or solicita...
Lozano Smith Alert
As Lozano Smith reported yesterday, the State Allocation Board (SAB) took unprecedented action this week authorizing eligible school districts to collect ‘Level 3’ developer fees. The litigation that was threatened and that was mentioned in our client news brief has become a reality. On the same day that SAB approved Level 3 fees, the California Building Industry Association (CBIA) filed a Petition for Writ of Mandate in Sacramento County Superior Court....
*** Update: May 27, 2016***
The litigation that was threatened and that was mentioned in the below client news brief has become a reality. Details here.
The State Allocation Board (SAB) has taken the unprecedented step of determining that state funding is no longer available for apportionment for school facilities, triggering some school districts’ eligibility to collect higher ‘Level 3’ fees for the first time ever.
The Board’s historic May 25 decision ...
On February 24, 2016, the State Allocation Board (SAB) adjusted the amount of "Level 1" developer fees that school districts are authorized to collect to $3.48 per square foot of residential development and $0.56 for commercial development. The SAB's action represents a 3.59 percent increase over the maximum amounts authorized as of January of 2015. The increase takes effect immediately, and may now be implemented by school districts through local action. The latest...
A recent court decision underscores the importance of local agencies complying with accounting requirements related to the collection and use of developer fees. In Daniel Walker v. City of San Clemente ((August 28, 2015) 2015 Cal.App. Lexis 757 (Walker)), the Court of Appeal affirmed a trial court decision finding the City's accounting and related findings to be inadequate, and requiring that all unspent developer fees be refunded with interest. This case is a remin...
In a recent decision, a California appellate court voided a school district's action to close two schools and transfer the students to other schools based on the court's finding that the district did not comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The district had found the closure and transfer to be exempt from CEQA, but the court held that there was insufficient evidence in the record to support that finding. The case is a reminder of the importan...
The California Supreme Court has reversed a 2012 appellate court decision that, if allowed to stand, would have significantly narrowed the application of categorical exemptions under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). (Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley (March 2, 2015) 2015 Cal. Lexis 1213 ("Berkeley Hillside").) The Supreme Court's decision in Berkeley Hillside preserves the ability of a public agency to exempt itself from CEQA's require...
An appellate court has held that a public agency may recover administrative record preparation costs in a lawsuit filed against it under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), even where the petitioner elects to prepare the record. This decision calls into question CEQA petitioners' tendency to elect to prepare the record themselves in order to avoid paying agency costs.
In CEQA lawsuits, Public Resources Code Section 21167.6 governs the record of pro...
On January 22, 2014, the State Allocation Board (SAB) approved an inflationary increase applicable to "Level 1" developer fees. Based on application of the Marshall & Swift Eight California Cities Index for construction costs, SAB adjusted the Level 1 fee to $3.36 per square foot for residential development and $0.54 for commercial development. The increases take effect immediately, and constitute a 4.93 percent change over the previously authorized amounts of $...
A newly signed bill will require school districts and county offices of education to return moneys received from the state school facilities funding program if the school districts or county offices sell real property that was purchased, modernized, or improved with such moneys in the prior ten years, and if certain other criteria are met. The bill, Assembly Bill (AB) 308, which was recently signed by the Governor, applies only to sales and not leases.
As part of the trailer bills adopted to implement the 2013-2014 State Budget, the Legislature extended until July 1, 2016, the requirement that school districts offer surplus property to interested charter schools. The Legislature also made other modifications to the law relating to such offers, and extended the right of school districts to deposit the proceeds from the sale of certain surplus real property into the general fund for one-time general fund purposes to Ja...
A recent court decision provides authority for public agencies to commence an eminent domain proceeding, in some circumstances, prior to completion of environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In Golden Gate Land Holdings, LLC. v. East Bay Regional Park District (April 12, 2013) __ Cal.App.4th __ (2013 WL 1491547) ("Golden Gate Land Holdings"),the Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District held that a park district had improperl...
California courts at all levels have been faced with an increasing myriad of lawsuits and appeals relating to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Two courts of appeal recently considered issues relating to the adequacy of environmental impact reports (EIRs), with mixed results. CEQA requires an EIR to be prepared in certain circumstances when an agency finds that a non-exempt project may have a significant effect on the environment. When required, the ...
Continuing a recent trend, another California Court of Appeal has reviewed a public agency's reliance on a Notice of Exemption under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In Coalition for Clean Air v. City of Visalia (Sept. 14, 2012) __ Cal.App.4th __ (2012 WL 4653808), the court confirmed that a Notice of Exemption must be filed after project approval in order to trigger a 35-day statute of limitations for any challenge to the exemption.
CEQA is a c...
On June 27, 2012, the Governor signed Senate Bill (SB) 1016, a budget-related bill which, among other things, suspends school districts' ability to levy "Level 3" developer fees until December 31, 2014. Although these types of fees represented part of a compromise between the interests of school districts and the building industry when SB 50 was enacted in 1998, and notwithstanding disappearing state bond funds, school districts have yet to actually collect any Level 3...
New legislation that became effective on June 27, 2012, gives charter schools interested in surplus school district real property priority to buy or lease such property. Senate Bill (SB) 1016 requires school districts seeking to sell or lease surplus property to offer that property first to any charter school that has submitted a written request to be notified of surplus property offered for sale or lease by the school district. Such offers are required for any propert...
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires a lead agency to consider the environmental impacts of a proposed project. Generally, when considering such impacts, a lead agency uses as the baseline the conditions in the vicinity of the project as they exist at the time environmental analysis is commenced. This approach of using existing conditions as the baseline is supported by the CEQA Guidelines. (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, §§ 15000 et seq.) Bas...