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How California environmental law can affect real estate planning

Business owners spanning Kern County and from across the remainder of Southern California have ongoing and myriad concerns as they establish their enterprises and subsequently concentrate on their growth and profitability.

For many, one of those concerns centrally relates to real estate. One business might be focused upon the development of planned residential communities. Another might be in dire need of plant expansion. Still another might want to upgrade existing facilities. Nearly limitless other possibilities also exist.

With all those concerns, a host of regulatory, contractual and other challenges can arise. Those broadly range from issues surrounding eminent domain matters and land use/zoning considerations to title issues, easement disputes and various matters that end up in litigation.

One focal area that centrally affects many California business principals in a very prominent manner as they go about their commercial activities is the environment, specifically, environmental rules and policies enacted by state officials that touch closely upon real estate concerns and decisions.

One recent media article noting an impending state law clearly evidences that. The legislation kicks in from January 1 of next year and will apply in cases where a residential landowner or business decision maker seeks to make a significant renovation to a property.

In such a case, escalated upgrade costs will result, driven by a new mandate requiring higher-performance materials used in doors, walls, attics, windows, cooling systems and other components.

The environmental legislation impacting businesses and homeowners is driven by a sharp state focus on reducing air pollutants across California.

Will the new law prove to be onerous for businesses?

To some extent, that will likely be the case, although, specifics seem to presently be in short supply.

"The details are not fleshed out," says one state senator.

When they are duly vetted and spelled out, they will have to carefully balance environmental interests and the legitimate business needs of California companies, respectively.

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