Justia Zoning, Planning & Land Use Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals' decision reversing the circuit court's order dismissing Property Owners' appeal from the decision of the Kenton County Board of Adjustment granting approval of a conditional use application to allow the operation of a nursery school in a residential zone, holding that Kentucky law requires that a party must claim to be "injured or aggrieved" to perfect an appeal to circuit court under Ky. Rev. Stat. 100.347(1).After the Board unanimously granted the conditional use application Property Owners filed an appeal, alleging that the Board's action was improper because it did not meet certain statutory requirements and the requirements of the Kenton County Zoning Ordinance. The circuit court dismissed the appeal, concluding that Property Owners failed to allege that they were injured or aggrieved by the final action of the Board, and therefore, the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The court of appeals reversed, interpreting the "injured or aggrieved" language to be a standing requirement rather than a jurisdiction requirement. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Property Owners failed to follow the appeal procedures in section 100.347(1) by not claiming in the complaint to be injured or aggrieved, and therefore, the circuit court appeals properly dismissed the action for lack of jurisdiction. View "Kenton County Board of Adjustment v. Meitzen" on Justia Law

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The mayor and the board of aldermen of the City of Laurel, Mississippi unanimously passed an ordinance to extend Laurel’s boundaries, but the Pendorff Community Association contested the annexation. Following a bench trial, the Chancery Court of Jones County ruled in favor of Laurel and entered an order approving the annexation. Pendorff appealed the chancery court’s ruling. After reviewing the record, the Mississippi Supreme Court could the chancery court’s approval of the annexation was reasonable. Therefore, the Court affirmed. View "Pendorff Community Association, LLC v. City of Laurel" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Parkford Owners for a Better Community (Parkford), appealed a judgment entered in favor of defendants, Placer County and Placer County Community Development Resource Agency (collectively, the County), and real parties in interest, Silversword Properties, LLC (Silversword), K.H. Moss Company, and Moss Equity (collectively, Moss). Silversword owned property upon which Moss operated a commercial self-storage facility (Treelake Storage). Parkford’s lawsuit challenged the County’s issuance of a building permit for construction of an expansion of Treelake Storage, claiming the County failed to comply with both the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the Planning and Zoning Law. The trial court concluded: (1) the County’s issuance of the building permit was ministerial rather than discretionary, and therefore CEQA did not apply; and (2) Parkford’s challenge under the Planning and Zoning Law was barred by the statute of limitations. Real parties in interest, joined by the County, argued the trial court correctly decided each of these issues, and in the alternative, urged the Court of Appeal to affirm the judgment because Parkford’s challenge to the building permit became moot prior to the entry of judgment, when construction on the expansion project was completed. The Court concluded Parkford’s claims were moot and dismissed the appeal. View "Parkford Owners for a Better Community v. County of Placer" on Justia Law

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This appeal arose from Beaufort County, South Carolina's refusal to issue Grays Hill Baptist Church a construction permit to build a fellowship hall adjacent to its existing sanctuary. The court of appeals reversed the master's order and reinstated the Beaufort County Planning Commission's decision to deny the permit because the Church's 1997 development permit did not include the fellowship hall and had expired. After review, the South Carolina Supreme Court reversed the the court of appeals and ordered Beaufort County to issue the Church a construction permit for the fellowship hall under its original 1997 development permit. The Court found the Planning Commission erred in finding that the Church's original 1997 development permit did not authorize the development of the fellowship hall because the proposed building was clearly indicated in the permit application and plat. "There is no evidence in the record to support the Commission's finding that the original permit only authorized development of the church and that the certificate of compliance closed out the 1997 development permit. Consequently, the County erred in requiring the Church to request a new development permit." View "Grays Hill Baptist Church v. Beaufort County" on Justia Law

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The City of Petal’s March 30, 2017 Amended Annexation Ordinance sought to add six square miles, spread across five different locations, to the City’s limits. The proposed annexation would have also added 296 residents to the City. For the Special Chancellor to approve the City’s petition to ratify, the City had to prove the annexation was reasonable. The chancellor found the City did not fully meet that burden. After trial, the chancellor found a modified annexation acceptable, determining the City already had sufficient available land within its current limits for residential and commercial development. And he found it more beneficial and reasonable for the City to update zoning and improve infrastructure than to approve annexation of an industrial area and two mostly undeveloped and unpopulated areas. There were two smaller proposed areas the judge deemed reasonable for annexation. The City’s last annexation, finalized in 2003, resulted in some parcels or tracts of land erroneously split between the City and Forrest County. So the chancellor granted the City's petition (as modified) to correct those errors. The City appealed. Finding the chancellor's decision supported by substantial and credible evidence, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed his decision. View "In the Matter of the Enlargement & Extension of the Municipal Boundaries of the City of Petal, Mississippi" on Justia Law

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The City of Brentwood (Brentwood) sought reimbursement for construction costs incurred in five redevelopment projects. In City of Brentwood v. Campbell, 237 Cal.App.4th 488 (2015), the Court of Appeal rejected Brentwood’s contention that a statutory exception to the redevelopment dissolution statutes allowed the city to retain funds previously reimbursed under five public improvement agreements (PIA’s) between Brentwood and its former redevelopment agency (RDA). Here, Brentwood sought payment for expenses as yet unreimbursed, contending that the PIA’s were “enforceable obligations” under Health & Safety Code section 34191.4 (b)(1), a 2015 amendment to the dissolution statutes. Brentwood contended that third party construction contracts for the five projects - all but a small fraction of which preceded execution of the PIA’s - were “under” the PIA’s within the meaning of section 34191.4 (b)(2)(C)(i). The trial court ruled that “[i]n order for the contracts to have been ‘under’ the PIAs and on behalf of the RDA, the PIAs needed to already exist.” Similarly, Brentwood contended that the PIA’s ratified and incorporated the prior cooperation agreement and findings resolutions that predated third party construction contracts. The Court of Appeal determined no agreement or resolution prior to the PIA’s committed the RDA to reimburse Brentwood for the construction costs of the five redevelopment projects. "Ratification cannot import the terms of the PIA’s into the cooperation agreement and findings resolutions." The Court therefore affirmed denial of reimbursement. View "City of Brentwood v. Department of Finance" on Justia Law

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International, an outdoor advertising company, sought to erect digital billboards in two separate locations within the City of Troy. International's permit and variance applications were denied. International filed suit (42 U.S.C. 1983), alleging that the ordinance granted unfettered discretion and contained unconstitutional content-based restrictions as it exempted from permit requirements certain categories of signs, such as flags and “temporary signs.” During the litigation, Troy amended the Ordinance.The Sixth Circuit remanded. The original Ordinance imposed a prior restraint because the right to display a sign that did not come within an exception as a flag or as a “temporary sign” depended on obtaining either a permit or a variance. The standards for granting a variance contained multiple vague, undefined criteria, such as “public interest,” “general purpose and intent,” “adversely affect[ing],” and “hardship.” Even meeting these criteria did not guarantee a variance; the Board retained discretion to deny it. The amendment, however, rendered the action for declaratory and injunctive relief moot. The severability of the variance provisions rendered moot its claim for damages. The court reinstated a claim that the ordinance imposed content-based restrictions without a compelling government interest for reconsideration under the correct standard. A regulation of commercial speech that is not content-neutral is still subject to strict scrutiny. View "International Outdoor, Inc. v. City of Troy" on Justia Law

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Nanouk uses her 160-acre Alaska Native allotment for traditional subsistence activities. In the 1980s, Nanouk built a small cabin, which she and her family reached by using a trail that runs from the main road through the U.S. Air Force North River Radio Relay Station, which closed in 1978. In 1981, the General Accounting Office criticized the Air Force’s failure to maintain shuttered sites, including North River, which contained hazardous chemicals. The Air Force and the Army Corps of Engineers began remediation, removing 500 gallons of transformer oil containing PCBs and PCB-contaminated soil. Surveys taken in 1987 and 1989 revealed that 6,700 cubic yards of contaminated soil remained. The Air Force and the Corps released a new plan in 2001; clean-up resumed. The trail that Nanouk used ran through a “hot spot” where PCB-contaminated soil was picked up by her vehicles. Nanouk did not learn about the PCBs on her property until 2003 when she reported a strong chemical odor. The Air Force then undertook extensive environmental remediation at the Station and Nanouk’s allotment. Nanouk sued, alleging trespass and nuisance. She and several family members have experienced serious health problems.The Ninth Circuit vacated the dismissal of her suit. The Federal Tort Claims Act's discretionary exception barred claims predicated on two of the acts she challenged as negligent--the government’s alleged failure to supervise contractors during the Station’s operation, and its abandonment of the property between the 1978 closure and 1990. The government did not establish that the exception barred the claims relating to the failure to identify and remediate the hot spot in a timely manner after 1990. View "Nanouk v. United States" on Justia Law

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Oklahoma City Ordinance 25,777 prohibited standing, sitting, or remaining for most purposes on certain medians. Plaintiffs were Oklahoma City residents, a minority political party in Oklahoma, and an independent news organization. They used medians to panhandle, engage in protests or other expressive activity, mount political campaigns, cover the news, or have personal conversations. After they were no longer able to engage in such activity due to the ordinance, plaintiffs sued Oklahoma City and its chief of police, William Citty, (together, “the City”) alleging violations of their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The district court dismissed plaintiff Trista Wilson’s First Amendment claim; granted summary judgment favoring the City on plaintiffs’ due process vagueness claims; and, following a bench trial, entered judgment against plaintiffs on all other claims. After review, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the court’s entry of judgment in favor of the City on plaintiffs’ First Amendment claims; it reversed the dismissal of Wilson’s First Amendment claim; and affirmed on all other claims. View "McCraw v. City of Oklahoma City" on Justia Law

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The dispute concerned lots, streets, and alleys within or near the City of Glen Ullin. The lots, streets, and alleys were all surveyed and platted, but undeveloped. The Park District owned or had authority over the lots. The City had authority over the streets and alleys, which ran adjacent to and between the lots. The Schirados owned land near both the Park District property and the City property. The Shirados appealed after the district court granted summary judgment in favor of the City and the Park District, concluding the case was res judicata due to a prior lawsuit between the Park District and the Schirados. The court entered judgment enjoining the Schirados from placing any obstruction or personal property on certain City lands and on certain Park District lands and awarded attorney’s fees. After its review, the North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the court properly applied the doctrine of res judicata to the Park District lands, which were the subject of the prior lawsuit, but it erred when it applied res judicata to the City lands, which were not included in the prior lawsuit. The Court therefore affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated the award of attorney’s fees and costs, and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "City of Glen Ullin, et al. v. Schirado, et al." on Justia Law