Justia Zoning, Planning & Land Use Opinion Summaries

by
After the City of San Mateo denied an application to build a ten-unit apartment building, petitioners sought a writ of administrative mandamus seeking to compel the project's approval. The trial court denied the petition, ruling that the project did not satisfy the City's design guidelines for multifamily homes and that, to the extent the Housing Accountability Act (HAA), Government Code section 65589.5, required the City to ignore its own guidelines, it was an unconstitutional infringement on the City's right to home rule and an unconstitutional delegation of municipal powers.The Court of Appeal reversed, concluding that the design guideline the City invoked as part of its reason for rejecting this housing development is not "objective" for purposes of the HAA, and so cannot support the City's decision to reject the project. Furthermore, because the HAA checks municipal authority only as necessary to further the statewide interest in new housing development, the HAA does not infringe on the City's right to home rule. The court rejected the City's remaining constitutional arguments. The trial court shall issue a writ of mandate directing the City to (1) vacate its February 5, 2018 action upholding the Planning Commission's decision to deny the application, and (2) reconsider the challenge to the Planning Commission's decision. View "California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund v. City of San Mateo" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the appellate court concluding that Conn. Gen. Stat. 14-55 was not repealed by a sequence of contradictory public acts relating to that statute, holding that section 14-55 has not been repealed.Plaintiff filed an administrative appeal challenging the decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals of the City of Stamford to grant a certificate of approval of the location for Defendants' used car dealership. The trial court denied the administrative appeal, but the appellate court reversed. At issue was whether the suitability analysis mandated by section 14-55 was still required in order to obtain a certificate of approval for the location of a used car dealership, despite subsequent revisions of the General Statutes listing that provision as having been repealed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the appellate court erred in concluding that section 14-55 had been repealed. View "One Elmcroft Stamford, LLC v. Zoning Board of Appeals" on Justia Law

by
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the Department of the Interior and Intervenor WWP in an action challenging the BLM's denial of plaintiffs' request to transfer a "preference" to receive a permit to graze on certain federal land allotments.The panel applied step one of the Chevron framework and concluded that the IBLA correctly applied the clear and unambiguous language of the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 (TGA) and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA), which established that a grazing preference could not be exercised after the corresponding grazing permit was not renewed for bad behavior. Because the IBLA correctly interpreted and applied the statutory authorities, and therefore did not act contrary to law, it follows that the decision is not arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. Therefore, the district court properly granted summary judgment. View "Corrigan v. Haaland" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court ruling that Plaintiff had not articulated a legally viable cause of action and denied any requests made for injunctive relief, holding that there was no reversible error in the judgment.Plaintiff brought this complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief concerning Governor Ralph S. Northam's order to the Department of General Services to remove the Robert E. Lee Monument in Richmond, Virginia from Commonwealth property. The circuit court dismissed the claims, holding that Plaintiff failed to state a claim that he possessed the legal right to prohibit the Commonwealth from moving the monument. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in dismissing Plaintiff's claim with prejudice. View "Gregory v. Northam" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court concluding that Governor Ralph S. Northam's order to remove the Robert E. Lee Monument in Richmond, Virginia from property owned by the Commonwealth was not improper or unlawful, holding that Plaintiffs' claims were without merit.At issue in this case was whether language in an 1890 deed, signed by the then Governor of Virginia, and an 1889 joint resolution of the General Assembly requesting and authorizing the Governor to sign the deed, prohibited Governor Northam from ordering the removal of the state-owned Lee Monument from state-owned property. The circuit court found that the language in the deed created restrictive covenants but that those restrictive covenants were unenforceable and that the Governor's actions seeking to remove the Lee Monument did not contradict public policy or violate the Virginia Constitution. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding the the circuit court did not err. View "Taylor v. Northam" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the Land Court determining that, pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 94G, 3(a)(1), the town of Mansfield may not prevent CommCan, Inc. from converting to a retail marijuana establishment, holding that there was no error.Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 94G, 3(a)(1) exempts, with some exceptions, medical marijuana dispensaries from zoning ordinances that would prohibit them from converting to retail marijuana sales. Plaintiff, the president of CommCan, received authorization from the town to construct a building that would house a medical marijuana dispensary. Before construction began, chapter 94G legalized the sale of recreation marijuana. Plaintiff sought a determination that, pursuant to section 3(a)(1), the town may not prevent CommCan from converting to a retail marijuana establishment. The Supreme Judicial Court granted summary judgment for Plaintiff. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the town's arguments on appeal lacked merit. View "CommCan, Inc. v. Mansfield" on Justia Law

by
A reverse validation action was brought by petitioners Bonnie Wolstoncroft, William Unkel, and Michael Wilkes against the County of Yolo (County) to challenge the County’s plan to continue water service to 95 residences within the North Davis Meadows County Service Area (County Service Area) by replacing two aging groundwater wells with the City of Davis’s (City) water supply. Under this plan, North Davis Meadows residents would pay substantially higher water rates to pay for the project. The County considered the increased water rates to be property-related fees and noticed a Proposition 218 (as approved by voters, Gen. Elec. (Nov. 5, 1996)) hearing. More than five months after the County adopted its resolution, but before the deadline contemplated by the parties’ tolling agreement, petitioners filed their action in superior court. The trial court rejected petitioners’ argument that the increased levy constituted an assessment for which majority approval was required by Proposition 218. The trial court also rejected petitioners’ contentions that the County wrongfully rejected protest votes it claimed not to have received or received in an untimely manner. After review of petitioners' arguments on appeal, the Court of Appeal concluded the trial court correctly determined that the levy constituted a property-related fee under Proposition 218. "The fact that maintaining adequate water supply requires switching water sources does not turn the fee into an assessment. Thus, the County properly employed the majority protest procedure under article XIII D, section 6." Further, the Court concluded that even if the trial court erred in denying petitioners’ motion to augment the record with declarations regarding two mailed protest votes, petitioners’ evidence would not prove timely compliance with the protest procedure. Without the protest votes for which only evidence of mailing was tendered, the protest lacked a majority. Accordingly, the trial court's judgment was affirmed. View "Wolstoncroft v. County of Yolo" on Justia Law

by
Pacific Harmony Grove Development, LLC and Mission Valley Corporate Center, Ltd. (Owners) appealed the judgment entered in a condemnation case following the first phase of a bifurcated trial at which the trial court resolved certain legal issues concerning how to value the condemned property. The City of Escondido (City) sought to acquire by condemnation from Owners a 72-foot-wide strip of land (the strip) across a mostly undeveloped 17.72-acre parcel (the Property) to join two disconnected segments of Citracado Parkway. The City argued that the strip should have been valued under the doctrine from City of Porterville v. Young, 195 Cal.App.3d 1260 (1987). Owners argued the Porterville doctrine did not apply, and that the court should have instead applied the “project effect rule.” After a four-day bench trial, the court issued a comprehensive statement of decision ruling in the City’s favor on all issues. Owners appealed, contending the trial court erred by finding the Porterville doctrine applied, the project effect rule did not, and the City was not liable for precondemnation damages. After review, the Court of Appeal concurred with the City’s position and affirmed the judgment. View "City of Escondido v. Pacific Harmony Grove Development" on Justia Law

by
In 1899, the Barnard E. Bee chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy erected a monument of a Confederate soldier in a San Antonio Park, also placing a time capsule beneath the statue. In 1932, the Albert Sidney Johnston (ASJ) chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy formed, and that chapter functionally took the place of the Bee chapter when the Bee chapter dissolved in 1972. Over a century after the monument was erected, the City of San Antonio removed both the monument and time capsule. The ASJ chapter filed suit, claiming violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint based on lack of standing, agreeing with the district court that the ASJ chapter had no property right in the monument, time capsule, or land at the center of the park. The court rejected ASJ's contention that it possesses an easement or license to use the land. Rather, the land was generally inalienable and unassignable. Furthermore, any permission to use the land was limited. Even assuming arguendo that the 1899 document created an easement or irrevocable license, however, it transferred only to the Bee chapter and terminated with its dissolution in 1972. Therefore, the ASJ chapter's failure to establish a particularized injury undermines both of its claims. View "Albert Sidney Johnston Chapter v. City of San Antonio" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the appellate court concluding that Conn. Gen. Stat. 14-55 was not repealed by a sequence of public acts relating to that statute passed by the legislature in 2003, holding that section 14-55 has been repealed, and therefore, the suitability analysis mandated by the statute is no longer required to obtain a certificate of approval of the location for a used car dealership.The Zoning Board of Appeals of the City of Stamford granted a certificate of approval of the location for a used car dealership run by Defendants. Plaintiff filed an administrative appeal challenging the judgment, arguing that the board had failed to conduct the suitability analysis mandated by section 14-55. The trial court denied the appeal, concluding that the board was required to consider the suitability factors set forth in 14-55 and that the board had given due consideration to the suitability of Defendants' proposed use. The appellate court reversed, deciding that section 14-55 was not repealed in 2003 but that the board issued no findings as to the suitability factors. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that section 14-55 has been repealed. View "One Elmcroft Stamford, LLC v. Zoning Board of Appeals" on Justia Law