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The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's denial of plaintiff's petition for writ of administrative mandate after the county planning commission and board of supervisors denied her application for a conditional use permit (CUP) to keep up to five tigers on her property. The court held that substantial evidence supported the Board's findings that the project was not compatible with the planned uses in the general area and the project was detrimental to the public interest, health, safety or welfare. In this case, tigers did not belong in a residential area and there was more than ample evidence to support a finding that plaintiff's tigers posed a danger to the public. View "Hauser v. Ventura County Board of Supervisors" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court's denial of plaintiff's petition for writ of administrative mandate after the county planning commission and board of supervisors denied her application for a conditional use permit (CUP) to keep up to five tigers on her property. The court held that substantial evidence supported the Board's findings that the project was not compatible with the planned uses in the general area and the project was detrimental to the public interest, health, safety or welfare. In this case, tigers did not belong in a residential area and there was more than ample evidence to support a finding that plaintiff's tigers posed a danger to the public. View "Hauser v. Ventura County Board of Supervisors" on Justia Law

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Applicant Chris Khamnei appealed a superior court decision affirming the Burlington Public Works Commission’s denial of his request for permits to complete plumbing work in a building he owned because he failed to identify the name of a licensed professional plumber who would perform the work. On appeal, applicant argued the applicable statute and accompanying regulations allowed property owners to perform this type of work without a plumbing license. Finding no reversible error in the Commission's decision, the Vermont Supreme Court affirmed. View "Khamnei v. Burlington Public Works Commission" on Justia Law

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Neighbors appealed the Environmental Division’s order dismissing as untimely their appeal to that court from a decision of the Town of Jericho Development Review Board (DRB) granting a conditional use permit to applicant Kevin Mahar. In late April 2015, applicant sought a conditional use permit for a detached accessory structure and apartment at his single-family home in Jericho. On appeal, neighbors argued the appeal was timely because they did not receive proper notice of either the hearing before the DRB or the resulting DRB decision. The Vermont Supreme Court concluded that at least some neighbors adequately raised a sufficient basis to reopen the appeal period and timely filed an appeal. Therefore, the Court reversed the dismissal and remanded to the Environmental Division for resolution of the motion to reopen the appeal period and, if grounds are found, an adjudication on the merits of neighbors’ appeal. View "In re Mahar Conditional Use Permit" on Justia Law

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In 1996, the City of Gulfport filed an eminent domain complaint against Dedeaux Utility Company. Gulfport did not take physical control of the utility until December 20, 2004, after a jury awarded Dedeaux $3,634,757. Dedeaux appealed that verdict and Gulfport cross-appealed. In the first in a series of cases between these parties, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed and remanded for a new trial, and the second jury awarded Dedeaux $5,131,676 for the taking. Dedeaux again appealed, and Gulfport again cross-appealed. The Supreme Court again reversed and remanded in “Dedeaux II,” and the case was tried a third time, resulting in a jury verdict in favor of Dedeaux totaling $8,063,981. The jury found that the fair market value of Dedeaux as of December 3, 1996, when the complaint was filed, was $7,082,778. It found that the fair market value of tangible assets added to Dedeaux from December 3, 1996, to December 20, 2004, when Gulfport took physical control, was $981,203. Based on payments already made by Gulfport to Dedeaux, the trial court found that Gulfport owed Dedeaux $1,951,102 plus interest on the amount of $7,082,778, and that it owed Dedeaux $728,117 plus interest on the amount of $981,203. Gulfport appealed, and the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court on all issues except interest: the trial court had determined that Mississippi Code Section 75-17-1 applied and mandated that it award eight-percent interest. The Supreme Court determined that Mississippi Code Section 75-17-7 applied, which charged the trial court to set an interest rate. The Court then remanded “for the limited purpose of determining a reasonable rate of interest and issuing an order for payment of that interest.” In the fourth appeal, the only issue was whether the interest rate on the judgment was appropriate. Because the trial court failed to follow the Mississippi Supreme Court’s mandate to set an interest rate, it reversed and remanded for entry of judgment consistent with the evidence presented. View "City of Gulfport v. Dedeaux Utility Company, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Jackson City Council passed an ordinance rezoning an approximately 0.3 acre parcel of property in the City limits. Ben Allen, individually and in his capacity as President of Downtown Jackson Partners, Inc., filed a bill of exceptions seeking reversal of the City Council’s decision to rezone the property. The circuit court reversed the Jackson City Council’s decision. The City appealed, challenging: (1) whether the trial court had jurisdiction to overrule the City Council’s decision because no signed bill of exceptions had been filed as required by Mississippi Code Section 11-51-75; (2) whether the trial court erred by refusing to dismiss the case for Allen’s lack of standing; and (2) whether the owner and lessor of the property were necessary parties to the appeal on the basis of basic due process requirements. After review, the Mississippi Supreme Court determined the City refused to comply with its ministerial duty to sign the bill of exceptions under Section 11-51-75. Despite the lack of a signature, the circuit court properly exercised jurisdiction. The circuit court took judicial notice of the City Council minutes and video of the City Council meeting. The record presented by the bill of exceptions and materials judicially noticed were sufficient for the circuit court’s review. The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order reversing the City Council’s decision because of a lack of a majority vote of a quorum under Section 21-8-11. The circuit court’s order finding Allen had standing to file a bill of exceptions in his capacity as President of Downtown Jackson Partners was also affirmed. Finally, the Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s finding that the property owner and lessor were not necessary and indispensable parties to the appeal. The City’s due process argument was not preserved in the circuit court, and even if it had been preserved, the City’s argument was without merit because it had no standing to assert the due process rights of the property owner and lessor. View "City of Jackson v. Allen" on Justia Law

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Although the Louisiana Constitution generally restricts the government from expropriating private property, it provides broad exceptions for public port authorities. The Constitution provides that the government can expropriate property for “[p]ublic ports . . . to facilitate the transport of goods or persons in domestic or international commerce.” The Louisiana Supreme Court granted review in this matter to determine whether St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District’s (the “Port”) expropriation of property owned by Violet Dock Port, Inc., L.L.C. (“Violet”) on the Mississippi River satisfied the “public purpose” requirement of art. I, section 4(B)(1) of the Louisiana Constitution and, further, whether it violated the business enterprise clause of art. I, section 4(B)(6). The Court found the record demonstrated that the Port’s expropriation was for the public purpose “to facilitate the transport of goods or persons in domestic or international commerce” and not for the constitutionally prohibited purpose of operating Violet’s enterprise or halting competition with a government enterprise. Therefore, the Court affirmed the court of appeal’s judgment that the expropriation was constitutional. However, the Supreme Court also found the trial court made a legal error in setting the just compensation due to Violet under art. I, section 4(B)(1), and further found the court of appeal failed to correct that error. This case was remanded to the court of appeal solely for the purpose of fixing the amount of just compensation based on the evidence in the record and in accordance with the principles discussed by the Supreme Court in this opinion. View "St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal Dist. v. Violet Dock Port, Inc." on Justia Law

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Defendant-landowner Carl Casagrande appealed a superior court order that granted summary judgment to plaintiff Town of Goshen. The issue before the trial court was whether a section of road abutting Casagrande’s property was an unmaintained town road, or whether, as Casagrande contended, it was private property because the residents of Goshen voted at a town meeting in 1891 to discontinue the road. After reviewing the record of the 1891 town meeting, including the language of the warrant article, the trial court concluded that the town had not voted to discontinue the road, and, therefore, the abutting road was a public highway. View "Town of Goshen v. Casagrande" on Justia Law

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Michele Brandt, as Trustee of the Michele L. Brandt Revocable Trust, appealed an order dismissing her appeal of the City of Fargo's resolution of necessity. Karen Wieland appealed a judgment dismissing her appeal to the district court from the City's resolution of necessity. In December 2016, the Fargo City Commission passed a resolution of necessity for property owned by Brandt related to construction of a flood protection project. Days later in a separate proceeding, the City passed a similar resolution of necessity for property owned by Wieland. Each resolution authorized the City to proceed with all legal means to obtain the property, including eminent domain. In each case the City filed a record on appeal in the district court and moved the court to dismiss the appeal. In Brandt's appeal, the City moved alternatively to consolidate Brandt's appeal with an eminent domain proceeding that the City also commenced in December 2016. In both appeals, Brandt and Wieland moved the district court to strike all materials from the record that had not specifically been placed in front of the city commission during the respective December 2016 meetings. After a February 22, 2017 hearing in Brandt's appeal, the district court entered an order granting the City's motion to dismiss and holding a resolution of necessity as a predicate to eminent domain is not subject to appellate review by the court. The court also held the City had not acted in bad faith, with a gross abuse of discretion, or fraudulently in passing the resolution of necessity. The order denied Brandt's motion to strike, concluding further consideration of the motion was moot. After a March 21, 2017 hearing in Wieland's appeal before a different judge, the district court entered an order and judgment dismissing Wieland's appeal. The court explained that the decision to go forward with an eminent domain proceeding is the City's political or legislative decision which the court could not review by appeal from issuance of the resolution. The City commenced an eminent domain proceeding for the Wieland property in April 2017. Because of similar dispositions, the North Dakota Supreme Court addressed both appeals in this decision and affirmed, concluding the court in each case did not err in dismissing the appeals because no statutory basis authorized an appeal to the district court from the City's resolutions of necessity. View "Brandt v. City of Fargo" on Justia Law

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Subsection 4(a) of Rhode Island’s Right to Farm Act, Rhode Island General Laws chapter 23 of title 2, does not permit Landowner to host commercial events, such as weddings for a fee, on his farmland in the Town of Exeter, Rhode Island. Landowner attempted to obtain a zoning certificate from the Town that would allow him to host a commercial fundraising event on his farmland. When the Town denied the request, Landowner filed suit, seeking a number of declarations. At issue was whether a 2014 amendment to R.I. Gen. Laws 2-23-4(a) rendered a previous permanent injunction enjoining Landowner from using his property for commercial events a nullity. The trial justice denied Landowner’s request for declaratory relief, concluding that the 2014 amendment did not supersede the 2011 injunction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, based on the unambiguous language of section 2-23-4(a), Landowner remained bound by the injunction. View "Gerald P. Zarrella Trust v. Town of Exeter" on Justia Law