Justia Zoning, Planning & Land Use Opinion Summaries

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the City in an action brought by plaintiffs, challenging its enforcement of the City's zoning regulations against them. Plaintiffs' claims stemmed from the City's enforcement of commercial zoning regulations.Even assuming zoning-enforcement decisions are susceptible to class-of-one challenges, the court concluded that plaintiffs have not shown that the City lacked a rational basis for its differential treatment of plaintiffs and other property owners. In this case, plaintiffs have not shown that they are identical or directly comparable to the comparator property owners in every material respect. The court also concluded that plaintiffs did not present sufficient evidence of affirmative misconduct to withstand summary judgment on their equitable-estoppel claim. View "Bruning v. City of Omaha" on Justia Law

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North Mill Street, LLC (“NMS”) owned commercial property in Aspen, Colorado. It sued the City of Aspen and the Aspen City Council (collectively, the “City”) in federal court, alleging the City’s changes to Aspen’s zoning laws and denial of a rezoning application caused a regulatory taking of NMS’s property without just compensation in violation of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The district court concluded NMS’s action was not ripe under Article III of the Constitution because NMS did not obtain a final decision from the City on how the property could be developed. The court thus dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). Finding no reversible error in that judgment, the Tenth Circuit affirmed. View "North Mill Street v. City of Aspen, et al." on Justia Law

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In August 2017, the City of West Fargo passed a resolution determining it was necessary to construct a sewer improvement project. The project consisted of the design and installation of two sewer pipes between West Fargo and Fargo. To complete the project, West Fargo had to acquire a right of way across certain private property, including Mark McAllister’s. McAllister appealed a judgment allowing the City of West Fargo to use its quick-take eminent domain power to acquire a right of way across his property. Because the North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court inappropriately granted the N.D.R.Civ.P. 54(b) order certifying the judgment as final, it dismissed the appeal. View "City of West Fargo v. McAllister, et al." on Justia Law

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Gary and Bella Martin appealed after the trial court granted in part and denied in part their petition for writ of administrative mandate to challenge the imposition of certain special conditions placed on the development of their property - a vacant, oceanfront lot in Encinitas - by the California Coastal Commission (Commission). The Commission also appealed the judgment. The Martins’ challenged a condition requiring them to eliminate a basement from their proposed home, while the Commission challenged the trial court’s reversal of its condition requiring the Martins to set back their home 79 feet from the bluff edge. Because the Court of Appeal agreed with its own recent decision in Lindstrom v. California Coastal Com., 40 Cal.App.5th 73 (2019) interpreting the same provisions of the Encinitas Local Coastal Program (LCP) and Municipal Code at issue here, the trial court’s invalidation of the Commission’s setback requirement was reversed. The trial court’s decision to uphold the basement prohibition was affirmed. View "Martin v. Cal. Coastal Commission" on Justia Law

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In this case concerning Talbot County's authority to impose civil penalties for Petitioners' violations of the Talbot County Code arising from their unlawful actions associated with clearing trees and constructing a driveway on their property without a permit the Court of Appeals held that the Talbot County Board of Appeals (Board of Appeals) lacked subject matter jurisdiction to consider or review the purported assessment of civil penalties.The penalties at issue were imposed by six assessment notices issued after the Talbot County Chief Code Compliance Officer (CCCO) was notified about the violations and issued abatement orders. Petitioners filed an administrative appeal of the assessments. The Board of Appeals concluded that the CCCO had the authority to issue the civil assessments but that the daily accrual of fines was stayed by Petitioners' administrative appeal. The circuit court reversed that portion of the Board's determination and entered an order authorizing Talbot County to enforce the civil assessments as originally assessed. The Court of Appeals vacated the circuit court's judgment, holding that the adjudication of civil penalties by a charter county in circumstances such as those within this case is within the original jurisdiction of the Maryland courts and not within the jurisdiction of a local board of appeals established by a charter county. View "Angel Enterprises Ltd. Partnership v. Talbot County" on Justia Law

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The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, 25 U.S.C. 2719, allows a federally recognized Indian tribe to conduct gaming on lands taken into trust by the Secretary of the Interior as of October 17, 1988 and permits gaming on lands that are thereafter taken into trust for an Indian tribe that is restored to federal recognition where the tribe establishes a significant historical connection to the particular land. Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians regained its federal recognition in 1991 and requested an opinion on whether a Vallejo parcel would be eligible for tribal gaming. Yocha Dehe, a federally recognized tribe, objected. The Interior Department concluded that Scotts Valley failed to demonstrate the requisite “significant historical connection to the land.” Scotts Valley challenged the decision.Yocha Dehe moved to intervene to defend the decision alongside the government, explaining its interest in preventing Scotts Valley from developing a casino in the Bay Area, which would compete with Yocha Dehe’s gaming facility, and that the site Scotts Valley seeks to develop "holds cultural resources affiliated with [Yocha Dehe’s] Patwin ancestors.”The D.C. Circuit affirmed the denial of Yocha Dehe’s motion, citing lack of standing. Injuries from a potential future competitor are neither “imminent” nor “certainly impending.” There was an insufficient causal link between the alleged threatened injuries and the challenged agency action, given other steps required before Scotts Valley could operate a casino. Resolution of the case would not “as a practical matter impair or impede” the Tribe’s ability to protect its interests. View "Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation v. United States Department of the Interior" on Justia Law

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Island Industrial, LLC, appealed a trial court decision granting the Town of Grand Isle’s motion for judgment on the pleadings. In 2004, in connection with the development of a subdivision known as Island Industrial Park, Island Industrial constructed a private road called Island Circle. In 2014, Island Industrial petitioned the Town to accept Island Circle as a public road. At a September 2016 meeting, the selectboard, as recommended by the road commissioner, unanimously approved a motion to accept Island Circle as a public road after a two-year period to ensure the pavement would hold up during frost and thaw periods. At the end of the two-year period, Island Industrial executed an irrevocable offer of dedication, in which it agreed to execute and deliver deeds conveying Island Circle to the Town. In 2018, Island Industrial received an email from the Town, explaining that a special meeting was being held two days later to discuss the Town’s acceptance of Island Circle as a public road. The selectboard held two special meetings to discuss rescinding its 2016 motion to accept Island Circle as a public road. Following an executive session, the selectboard rescinded the 2016 motion and provided three reasons for its decision: (1) Island Circle would only provide benefits to the Town in the future but not at this time; (2) the road would be expensive to maintain; and (3) safety concerns. A few days later, Island Industrial received a letter from the selectboard reaffirming that the Town rescinded the 2016 motion. Island Industrial appealed the selectboard’s decision rescinding the 2016 motion pursuant to Vermont Rule of Civil Procedure 75, and asked the superior court to issue a writ of mandamus ordering the Town to accept Island Circle as a public road. Appealing the denial of mandamus relief, Island Industrial argued to the Vermont Supreme Court that the trial court erred in considering the Town’s motion for judgment on the pleadings when Island Industrial spent time and resources responding to the Town’s previously filed summary-judgment motion. Alternatively, Island Industrial argued that the Town was not entitled to judgment on the pleadings because the allegations in the complaint, if proven, demonstrated that Island Industrial was entitled to mandamus relief. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court. View "Island Industrial, LLC v. Town of Grand Isle" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs owned a tenancy-in-common interest in a multi-unit San Francisco residential building. Until 2013, San Francisco accepted only 200 applications annually for conversion of such arrangements into condominium ownership. A new program allowed owners to seek conversion subject to conditions, including that nonoccupant owners had to offer their existing tenants a lifetime lease. The plaintiffs and their co-owners obtained approval for conversion. The city refused the plaintiffs’ subsequent request that the city either excuse them from executing the lifetime lease or compensate them. The plaintiffs’ suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 alleged that the lifetime-lease requirement was an unconstitutional regulatory taking. The district court rejected this claim, citing the Supreme Court’s “Williamson County” holding that certain takings actions are not “ripe” for federal resolution until the plaintiff seeks compensation through state procedures. While an appeal was pending, the Court repudiated that Williamson County requirement. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal, concluding that the plaintiffs had not satisfied the requirement of “finality.”The Supreme Court vacated. To establish “finality,” a plaintiff need only show that there is no question about how the regulations apply to the land in question. Here, the city’s position is clear: the plaintiffs must execute the lifetime lease or face an “enforcement action.” That position has inflicted a concrete injury. Once the government is committed to a position, the dispute is ripe for judicial resolution. Section 1983 guarantees a federal forum for claims of unconstitutional treatment by state officials. Exhaustion of state remedies is not a prerequisite. While a plaintiff’s failure to properly pursue administrative procedures may render a claim unripe if avenues remain for the government to clarify or change its decision, administrative missteps do not defeat ripeness once the government has adopted its final position. Ordinary finality is sufficient because the Fifth Amendment enjoys “full-fledged constitutional status.” View "Pakdel v. City and County of San Francisco" on Justia Law

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Appellants owned beachfront mobilehomes in Capistrano Shores Mobile Home Park located in the City of San Clemente. Each of their mobilehomes was a single-story residence. Between 2011 and 2013, appellants each applied for, and received, a permit from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to remodel their respective mobilehome. Appellants also applied for coastal development permits from the Coastal Commission. Their applications expressly indicated they were not addressing any component of the remodels for which they obtained HCD permits, including the addition of second stories. Rather, their coastal development permit applications concerned desired renovations on the grounds surrounding the mobilehome structures, including items such as carports, patio covers, and barbeques. Appellants completed their remodels at various times between 2011 and 2014. The parties disputed whether appellants received, prior to completion of construction, any communication from the Coastal Commission concerning the need for a coastal development permit for their projects.In February 2014, the Coastal Commission issued notices to appellants that the then-complete renovation of their residential structures was unauthorized and illegal without a coastal development permit. Faced with a potential need to demolish, at minimum, completed second-story additions to their mobilehomes, appellants unsuccessfully petitioned for a writ of mandate declaring that the coastal development permits were deemed approved by operation of law under the Permit Streamlining Act. In denying the petition, the trial court concluded the Coastal Commission had jurisdiction to require appellants to obtain coastal development permits and the prerequisite public notice to deemed approval under the Streamlining Act did not occur. Appellants contended on appeal that the trial court erred in both respects. The Court of Appeal concluded appellants’ writ petition should have been granted. "The Coastal Commission has concurrent jurisdiction with the California Department of Housing and Community Development over mobilehomes located in the coastal zone. Thus, even though appellants obtained a permit from the latter, they were also required to obtain a permit from the former. The Coastal Commission’s failure to act on appellants’ applications for costal development permits, however, resulted in the applications being deemed approved under the Streamlining Act." Accordingly, the Court reversed and remanded the matter with directions to the trial court to vacate the existing judgment and enter a new judgment granting appellants’ petition. View "Linovitz Capo Shores LLC v. California Coastal Commission" on Justia Law

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A circuit court reversed the Board of Supervisors of Hancock County, Mississippi's decision to deny the application of Razz Halili Trust d/b/a Prestige Oysters (the Trust) to use a location within Hancock County zoned “C-4” (Zone C-4) as a marina — a use allowed as a matter of right in Zone C-4. The Board appealed, and after review, the Mississippi Supreme Court found that the Board’s decision was arbitrary, capricious and not supported by substantial evidence. The Supreme Court therefore affirmed the circuit court's decision. View "Board of Supervisors of Hancock County, Mississippi v. Razz Halili Trust" on Justia Law