Justia Zoning, Planning & Land Use Opinion Summaries

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Granny Purps grows and provides medical marijuana to its 20,000 members, in compliance with state laws governing the production and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes. Santa Cruz County’s ordinance prohibits any medical cannabis operation from cultivating more than 99 plants; Granny’s dispensary was growing thousands of marijuana plants. The sheriff’s office went to the dispensary in June 2015, seized about 1,800 plants, and issued a notice of ordinance violation. Several months later, officers again went to the dispensary and took about 400 more marijuana plants. Granny sued, alleging conversion, trespass, and inverse condemnation and sought an order requiring the county to return the seized cannabis plants, The trial court dismissed. The court of appeal reversed. A government entity does not have to return seized property if the property itself is illegal but the Santa Cruz ordinance ultimately regulates land use within the county; it does not (nor could it) render illegal a substance that is legal under state law. View "Granny Purps, Inc. v. County of Santa Cruz" on Justia Law

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TSRA filed suit seeking to enjoin demolitions under the city's new ordinance, DALL. CITY CODE 51A-4.501(i), which streamlined the city's procedure for demolishing dilapidated historical homes smaller than 3,000 feet. The district court dismissed TSRA's claims. The Fifth Circuit affirmed, holding that TSRA does not have standing to assert its claims under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) or its 42 U.S.C.1982 and 1983 claims. In regard to the FHA claim, the court held that TSRA failed to prove that its injuries are traceable to the city's alleged misconduct and that its injuries are redressable by judgment in its favor. In this case, TSRA did not put forth any separate theories of standing for its sections 1982 and 1983 claims. Therefore, even assuming that TSRA established a constitutional injury-in-fact for purposes of sections 1982 and 1983, the court held that these claims would likewise suffer the same traceability and redressability defects as its FHA claims. View "Tenth Street Residential Ass'n v. City of Dallas" on Justia Law

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Under California Public Resources Code section 21167.6, documents "shall" be in the record in a CEQA challenge to an environmental impact report (EIR). The County of San Diego (County), as lead agency for the Newland Sierra project, no longer had "all" such correspondence, nor all "internal agency communications" related to the project. If those communications were by e-mail and not flagged as "official records," the County's computers automatically deleted them after 60 days. When project opponents propounded discovery to obtain copies of the destroyed e-mails and related documents to prepare the record of proceedings, the County refused to comply. After referring the discovery disputes to a referee, the superior court adopted the referee's recommendations to deny the motions to compel. The referee concluded that although section 21167.6 specified the contents of the record of proceedings, that statute did not require that such writings be retained. In effect, the referee interpreted section 21167.6 to provide that e-mails encompassed within that statute were mandated parts of the record - unless the County destroyed them first. The Court of Appeal disagreed with that interpretation, "[a] thorough record is fundamental to meaningful judicial review." The Court held the County should not have destroyed such e-mails, even under its own policies. The referee's erroneous interpretation of section 21167.6 was central to the appeals before the Court of Appeal. The Court issued a writ of mandate to direct the superior court to vacate its orders denying the motions to compel, and after receiving input from the parties, reconsider those motions. View "Golden Door Properties, LLC v. Super. Ct." on Justia Law

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A public entity desiring to retain condemned property under Code of Civil Procedure section 1245.245 has to "adopt" its initial and reauthorization resolutions within 10 years of each other; section 1245.245 uses the date of "final adoption;" the local law fixes when a resolution is "finally adopted;" and a resolution is "finally adopted" once the city council has enacted the resolution and it has either been (1) approved by the mayor, or (2) vetoed by the mayor, but overridden by the city council. In this case, plaintiff filed a petition for writ of mandate alleging that the city had a present legal duty to offer him a right of first refusal to purchase the property at issue. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's grant of the petition, holding that the city finally adopted its initial and reauthorization resolutions 19 days past the 10-year deadline, and thus section 1245.245 requires the city to offer to sell the property back to its original owner. View "Rutgard v. City of Los Angeles" on Justia Law

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In 2015, the Kenworthys began construction on a two-story boat garage on Lake Coeur d’Alene. The Newtons’ property overlooked the location of the Kenworthys’ boat garage. The new structure was much larger than the original boat garage and had a second floor. After construction began, the Newtons took issue with the size of the new structure, and sued the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) and the Kenworthys’ related family entities (the LLC Respondents), asserting claims of public and private nuisance and requesting injunctive relief to mandate the removal of the offending structure. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The district court held that the Newtons failed to establish that the boat garage was illegal and that their nuisance claims failed as a matter of law. The district court subsequently entered judgments in favor of IDL and the LLC Respondents. After the district court denied the Newtons’ motion for reconsideration, the Newtons appealed. Finding no reversible error, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the district court. View "Newton v. MJK/BJK MBK Lake" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Teton County Board of County Commissioners approving an application by the Teton Raptor Center for an amended conditional use permit (CUP) to expand the use of its property, holding that the Board's decision was not arbitrary and capricious and did not violate the law. In 2008, after obtaining variances to address nonconformities on structures on its property the Raptor Center obtained a CUP allowing the Raptor Center to operate its bird care and education facility. In 2017, the Raptor Center decided to expand its use of the site and applied to amend its 2008 CUP. The Board approved the application. Petitioners - nearby landowners and other parties - appealed, and the district court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Petitioners had standing to appeal the Board's decision; and (2) the Board reasonably concluded that the amended CUP complied with all relevant standards and resolutions and that the amended CUP substantially complied with the requirements of the 2008 variance. View "HB Family Limited Partnership v. Teton County Board of County Commissioners" on Justia Law

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Following a bench trial, the trial court determined that the residents of a small neighborhood (or their predecessors) who since 1942, used a railroad crossing on a private roadway to access their homes, had established a prescriptive easement over the crossing. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the residents could not take advantage of the “presumption of adversity” long recognized by the Oregon Supreme Court because their use of the crossing was not likely to put the landowner on notice of the adverse nature of the use. The Supreme Court concluded that the presumption of adversity applied to the residents’ claims and that no evidence rebutted that presumption. Accordingly, the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals and affirmed the judgment of the trial court. View "Albany & Eastern Railroad Co. v. Martell" on Justia Law

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Deborah Holter appealed a district court judgment dismissing her appeal of the Mandan Board of City Commissioners’ decision to specially assess her property for street improvements. In July 2017, the Mandan Special Assessment Commission published a notice of a meeting in August 2017 that contained the items of expense of the improvement, allocation of a portion of the cost to the City, and the net amount to be assessed. The notice provided a list of properties found to be especially benefited by the construction performed in the project and the amounts to be assessed. In August 2017, the Special Assessment Commission approved the proposed assessments against the especially benefited properties and moved the decision to the Board for its consideration. The Board approved the special assessments in October 2017. Holter owned three undeveloped residential lots in the improvement district. Each lot was assessed $15,928.40, for a total of $47,785.20. Holter objected to the assessments against her properties, claiming they exceeded the value of the benefits they received. She also argued the method for determining the assessments was unfair because corner lot owners and non-corner lot owners were not treated equally. When unsuccessful at the district court, Holter raised the same issue to the North Dakota Supreme Court, which found the City did not act arbitrarily, capriciously, or unreasonably in determining the benefits and assessments to Holter’s properties. View "Holter v. City of Mandan" on Justia Law

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In 2019, the district court entered a judgment awarding Karen Wieland $850,000 as just compensation for the taking of her property. The following day, the City of Fargo deposited $850,000 with the Cass County Clerk of Court. In March 2019, the district court amended the judgment to include an additional $89,044.32 for attorney fees and costs. That same day, the City deposited an additional $89,044.32 with the Cass County Clerk of Court. Wieland appealed the amended judgment. In her prior appeal, Wieland argued the eminent domain action should have been dismissed because the City failed to pay or deposit post-judgment interest subsequent to the City depositing the full amount of the judgment in court. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded there was no authority that required dismissal of an eminent domain action upon a political subdivision’s failure to pay or deposit post-judgment interest subsequent to the deposit of the full amount of the judgment in court. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s amended judgment awarding Wieland $939,044.32 for just compensation and attorney’s fees in the eminent domain action; the decision was limited to Wieland's request dismiss the proceedings in their entirety. In that prior appeal, the Supreme Court noted a potential issue of whether a landowner who appeals a judgment in eminent domain proceedings, without accepting or withdrawing deposited funds, was entitled to post-judgment interest subsequent to the deposit of the full amount of the judgment in court. Wieland did not raise that issue in her appeal, so the Supreme Court declined to opine on it. Following the issuance of the Supreme Court's mandate, Wieland moved for payment of the original amended judgment that had been deposited by the City in court, plus any accrued post-judgment interest. The district court denied the request for post-judgment interest after determining the accrual of interest was suspended once the City deposited the original amended judgment amount with the court and that it did not have the authority to further amend the judgment after the Supreme Court’s affirmance of the original amended judgment without remand on the prior appeal. Wieland appealed the denial of her request, and raised the issue the Supreme Court left unaddressed in the prior appeal. The Supreme Court determined that absent a absent a statutory provision to the contrary, the accrual of interest was suspended by the City’s deposit of the judgment amount. Therefore, the district court's order denying Wieland's request for post-judgment interest was affirmed. View "City of Fargo v. Wieland" on Justia Law

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The issue this case presented for the Idaho Supreme Court's review was the judicial review of a validation order issued by the Worley Highway District Board of Commissioners (the Highway District). The order validated Road No. 20 (also known as Sunny Slopes Road) across the Northwest and Northeast Quarters of Section 34, Township 47 North, Range 4 West, Boise Meridian, Kootenai County, Idaho. The purported road crossed properties owned by the Richel Family Trust and property owned by Jeanne Buell. The Trust did not contest the validation of the road in the Northwest Quarter of Section 34. However, the Trust requested judicial review of the validation of a portion of the road in the Northeast Quarter of Section 34. The district court affirmed the Highway District’s validation order. The Trust appealed the judicial review and affirmation, arguing the deed that purportedly conveyed the public right-of-way was void because it contained an insufficient description due to the loss of extrinsic evidence mentioned in the deed. Additionally, the Trust argued that many of the Highway District’s factual findings and legal conclusions were not supported by substantial and competent evidence. Further, the Trust argued that if the Highway District’s validation order was affirmed, it amounted to an unconstitutional taking under both the Idaho and United States constitutions. After review, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order affirming the Highway District’s validation order. The Court determined the Trust could not establish an actual taking. View "Richel Family Trust v. Worley Hwy Dist" on Justia Law