California Supreme Court Agrees with Meyers Nave Amicus Brief; Holds Newly Incorporated City Not Estopped from Disapproving Final Subdivision Map

Attorney Authors: 

In City of Goleta v. Superior Court (December 21, 2006), the California Supreme Court upheld the discretion of the newly incorporated City of Goleta to deny a "final" subdivision map that complied with a "tentative" map which was previously approved by the County out of which the City was formed. The Court held the new City was not barred from exercising that discretion by its interim adoption of a County subdivision ordinance that mandated approval of final map in conformity with a tentative map previously approved by "the County" – because the City had amended the interim ordinance to refer to maps previously approved by "the City."

The Court also emphasized the difficulty of holding local agencies to be "estopped," on grounds of alleged unfairness, from acting in compliance with their laws. The Court refused to apply estoppel in this case, where there was no evidence that the City expressly promised approval of the final map, and City officials had -- both before and after incorporation -- made public their concerns about the project. Peter Hayes and Amrit Kulkarni of the Meyers Nave Land Use Group, along with Kyle La Londe, supported the City’s estoppel arguments in an amicus brief, filed on behalf of the League of California Cities and the City of Laguna Woods.

For more information, please contact Peter Hayes at

To view the full text of the opinion, please click here.

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