Justia Zoning, Planning & Land Use Opinion Summaries

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Muskan Food sought a writ of mandate challenging the City's approval of a conditional use permit for the development of a neighborhood shopping center across the street from Muskan Food's gas station and convenience store. The superior court denied the petition after concluding that the City did not misinterpret a city ordinance and substantial evidence supported the City's decision to approve the conditional use permit.The Court of Appeal affirmed, concluding that Muskan Food did not exhaust the administrative appeal process set forth in the City's municipal code and this failure bars its lawsuit. The court interpreted the word "petition" broadly and concluded that it encompasses oral requests made to the mayor or councilmember. The court also concluded that the subjective intent of the person seeking to exhaust the administrative procedures is not the appropriate test. Rather, the communication should be given an objectively reasonable interpretation. In this case, Muskan Food, which has the burden of proving it exhausted the administrative remedies, has not established that it fulfilled the Municipal Code's petition requirement by orally requesting the councilmember appeal the planning commission's decision approving the conditional use permit. Furthermore, after applying the objectively reasonable standard to an e-mail Muskan Foods' president sent to the mayor, the court concluded that it does not constitute a "petition" for purposes of Municipal Code section 15-5017-A(2). View "Muskan Food & Fuel, Inc. v. City of Fresno" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed Appellants' appeal from the district court's dismissal of their appeal of a county board's grant of a conditional use permit (CUP) for the development of a commercial wind turbine operation, holding that this Court lacked jurisdiction to hear this appeal.In 2019, the Cherry County Board of Commissioners granted BSH Kilgore, LLC a CUP for the development of a commercial wind turbine operation in Cherry County. Thereafter, the Board granted BSH a four-year extension to build the operation. Appellants filed a "Complaint and Petition on Appeal" challenging the Board's action in granting the extension and asking for a trial de novo. The court dismissed Appellants' appeal, concluding that it lacked jurisdiction because the Board's decision was subject to review only through a petition in error. The Supreme Court dismissed Appellants' subsequent appeal, holding that, under the circumstances, the district court lacked jurisdiction, and therefore, this Court, too, lacked jurisdiction. View "Preserve of the Sandhills, LLC v. Cherry County" on Justia Law

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Golf Village owns, maintains, and administers a 900-acre planned community in Powell, including one of 11 separate lots in a commercial development. A 2003 “Declaration of Private Roads” refers to the use of private roads by each commercial lot owner, its employees, customers, and invitees. In 2010, one lot was transferred to the city for a municipal park. In 2018, the City began using three streets without Golf Village’s permission, removed a curb, and built a construction entrance. Golf Village sued (42 U.S.C. 1983), claiming that Powell has taken its property without just compensation or due process.The Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the suit. Golf Village did not establish the loss of its right to exclude; it could terminate the alleged taking by building a gate at the private street's entrance to ensure that everyone who drives on those streets is an invited guest. Under Golf Village’s analysis, any time the government took an action that made a property owner’s property more popular, regardless of what actions the property owner could take, there would be a taking. Any increased traffic, which may lead to additional maintenance costs, is merely a government action outside the owner’s property that causes consequential damages within. There are no material allegations that Golf Village cannot use and enjoy the private roads to the extent that it did before the City’s actions. View "Golf Village North, LLC v. City of Powell" on Justia Law

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In 2014, Seven Hills LLC began developing a cannabis production and processing business in Chelan County, Washington. After Seven Hills procured the relevant permits and began building on its property, Chelan County (County) passed Resolution 2015-94, which placed a moratorium on siting new cannabis-related businesses. While the moratorium was in place, Seven Hills received the necessary state licenses and began operating its cannabis production and processing business. Shortly thereafter, the County passed Resolution 2016-14, which changed the relevant ordinances resulting in the barring of new cannabis-related businesses. Seven Hills received a notice and order to abate zoning from the County Department of Community Development, containing four allegations: that Seven Hills had (1) produced and processed cannabis in violation of Resolution 2016-14; (2) constructed and operated unpermitted structures; (3) operated unpermitted propane tanks; and (4) created a public nuisance. A hearing examiner found Seven Hills committed all four violations; the trial court and the Court of Appeals affirmed. The Washington Supreme Court held the County’s resolution declaring a moratorium on siting new cannabis production and processing activities did not amend or replace existing zoning ordinances, and that Seven Hills established a nonconforming use prior to adoption of Resolution 2016-14. Further, the Court held that Resolution 2016-14 did amend the County’s ordinances defining agricultural use, but did not retroactively extinguish vested rights. Accordingly, the Court of Appeals was reversed in part and the matter remanded for further proceedings. View "Seven Hills, LLC v. Chelan County" on Justia Law

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The School Board sought equitable relief from Crest Hill ordinances creating a real property tax increment financing (TIF) district and attendant redevelopment plan and project, pursuant to the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act (65 ILCS 5/11-74.4-1). The Board complained that Crest Hill violated the TIF Act by including parcels of realty in the redevelopment project area that were not contiguous. An excluded parcel is owned by the utility company, is located outside the incorporated boundaries of the municipality and the boundaries of the redevelopment project area, and physically separates the parcels the municipality found to be contiguous for purposes of including them in the redevelopment project area.The circuit court granted Crest Hill summary judgment. The Appellate Court reversed. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the reversal. A public-utility-right-of-way exception to the contiguity requirement for annexation, found in the Municipal Code (65 ILCS 5/7-1-1), does not apply as an exception to contiguity required by the TIF Act. This case does not involve contiguous properties running parallel and adjacent to each other in a reasonably substantial physical sense, wherein a public utility owns a right-of-way, or easement, to pass through one or both of the physically adjacent properties. View "Board of Education of Richland School District No. 88A v. City of Crest Hill" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied as moot the writ of mandamus sought by Malcolm and Mary Wood seeking to compel Rocky River Board of Zoning and Building Appeals and its members (collectively, the zoning board) to stay their approval of a development plan and hear their appeals, holding that subsequent events had rendered the case moot.After the planning commission approved a proposed real estate development in Rocky River the Woods, who lived next to the site, filed an appeal. The zoning board declared the notice of appeal void on the grounds that the appeal was not completed or perfected within a timely fashion. The Woods subsequently filed a complaint for a writ of mandamus. The Supreme Court denied the writ of mandamus as moot because the construction of the project was substantially underway. View "State ex rel. Wood v. Rocky River" on Justia Law

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In 2016, Placer County, California (the County) approved a project to develop a resort on about 94 acres near Lake Tahoe. Sierra Watch challenged the County’s approval in two lawsuits, both of which were appealed. In this case, Sierra Watch challenged the County’s environmental review for the project under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In particular, Sierra Watch contended the County: (1) failed to sufficiently consider Lake Tahoe in its analysis; (2) insufficiently evaluated the project’s impacts on fire evacuation plans for the region; (3) inadequately evaluated and mitigated the project’s noise impacts; (4) failed to allow for sufficient public review of the project’s climate change impacts; (5) failed to consider appropriate mitigation for the project’s climate change impacts; (6) overlooked feasible mitigation options for the project’s traffic impacts; and (7) wrongly relied on deferred mitigation to address the project’s impacts on regional transit. The trial court rejected all Sierra Watch’s arguments. But because the Court of Appeal found some of Sierra Watch’s claims had merit, judgment was reversed. View "Sierra Watch v. County of Placer" on Justia Law

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In 2016, Placer County, California (the County) approved a project to develop a resort on about 94 acres near Lake Tahoe. Sierra Watch challenged the County’s approval in two lawsuits, both of which were appealed. In one of its suits, it alleged the County’s environmental review for the project was inadequate. In another, it alleged the County approved the project in violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act (Gov. Code. sec. 54950 et seq.). This appeal centered on Sierra Watch’s Brown Act allegations and involved two of the act’s requirements: (1) section 54957.5 of the Brown Act; and (2) section 54954.2 of the Brown Act. Because the trial court found differently on both of these issues, the Court of Appeal reversed in part. But although the Court found the County’s conduct violated the Brown Act, the Court rejected Sierra Watch’s request that the Court vacate the County’s approvals. View "Sierra Watch v. County of Placer" on Justia Law

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The City of Birmingham ("the City") appealed a circuit court's denial of its motion to vacate a quiet-title judgment in favor of Metropolitan Management of Alabama, LLC ("Metropolitan"). In 1999, the State of Alabama purchased a parcel of property at a tax sale. The City's Director of Finance conducted a public sale, selling and conveying a delinquent demolition assessment against the property. The City purchased that assessment interest and, in February 2007, recorded a deed showing the conveyance. In 2017, the property was sold by the State, and Michael Froelich, who was the managing member of Metropolitan, obtained title to the property by a tax deed. Froelich conveyed the property to Metropolitan by quitclaim deed. In 2018, Metropolitan commenced a quiet title action, naming Constance Wambo as a defendant possessing an interest in the property, and identified as fictitiously named defendants "any individuals and/or entities who may claim an interest now or in the future in the property ..., whose true identity is currently unknown to [the] Plaintiff." Metropolitan filed an affidavit in which Froelich averred that he, after a diligent search with the assistance of an attorney, had been unable to identify any other interest holders. In November 2019, the court entered a judgment quieting title to the property in Metropolitan, conveying to Metropolitan fee-simple title to the exclusion of all others, voiding any claims of the defendants, and making Metropolitan's claim of interest superior to any other. In early 2020, Metropolitan's attorney contacted counsel for the City regarding the City's recorded assessment interest. In June 2020, the City filed a motion to intervene in the quiet-title action and a motion to vacate the judgment as void under Rule 60(b)(4). The court denied the City's motion to vacate without stating grounds. The Alabama Supreme Court reversed, finding the law imputes to purchasers knowledge of the contents of recorded documents, and that such constructive notice of a defendant's residence generally suffices for "know[ledge]" of that residence under Rule 4.3(b). Metropolitan did not provide any reason why a reasonable probate-records search would not have disclosed the City's deed. Because Metropolitan had knowledge of the City's residence, Metropolitan's service by publication without first attempting another means of service failed to comply with Rule 4.3(b). View "City of Birmingham v. Metropolitan Management of Alabama, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the superior court reversing the decision of the Board of Appeals affirming the Town of China code enforcement officer's (CEO) issuance of an after-the-fact permit to allow the placement of a trailer on Nicholas Namer's lot, holding that the operative decision of the CEO was deficient for purposes of judicial review.Kimberly and Anthony LaMarre, whose property abutted the lot at issue, objected to the trailer's placement, arguing that the trailer was not a "recreational vehicle" within the meaning of the town's land use ordinance allowing such placement. The Board of Appeals affirmed. The superior court reversed. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment below and remanded the matter with instructions to remand to the code enforcement officer, holding that the CEO's decision was deficient for purposes of judicial review. View "LaMarre v. Town of China" on Justia Law