Justia Zoning, Planning & Land Use Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Arizona Supreme Court
Shea v. Maricopa County
The Supreme Court disagreed with the lower courts' dismissal of Appellants' complaint against Maricopa County for appeal of an administrative action and the final judgment on the County's counterclaim, holding that the plain meaning of Ariz. Rev. Stat. 12-904(A) did not bar jurisdiction.Maricopa County's Planning and Development Department fined Appellants for violations of the county zoning ordinance, and the decision was affirmed. Appellants filed a complaint against the County requesting declaratory relief and alleging due process violations. The County filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the trial court lacked jurisdiction because the complaint was deficient. The trial court denied the motion and allowed Appellants to file an amended complaint. Thereafter, Appellants brought an amended complaint seeking judicial review of the administrative decision. The County asserted a counterclaim seeking to enforce the fine. The trial court ruled the complaint failed to comply with Ariz. Rev. Stat. 12-904(A), and therefore, Appellants failed timely to file a "notice of appeal." The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals and reversed the trial court, holding that Appellants' complaint complied with section 12-904(A)'s three jurisdictional requirements that the timely filing's substance provide notice of the appeal, identify the decision being appealed, and state the issues argued on appeal. View "Shea v. Maricopa County" on Justia Law
Pawn 1st, LLC v. City of Phoenix
To obtain an area variance, an applicant must show that strictly applying a zoning ordinance will cause “peculiar and exceptional practical difficulties” that deprive a property of privileges enjoyed by other similarly zoned properties.This dispute arose from the City of Phoenix Board of Adjustment’s grant of a variance on a parcel of land in Phoenix. The superior court upheld the variance, finding that the variance was an area variance and not a use variance, that the Board was authorized to consider area variances, and that sufficient evidence supported the Board’s decision. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the Board did not act within its authority in granting the variance. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals’ opinion and affirmed the judgment of the superior court, holding (1) the Board acted within its discretion in finding that special circumstances applied to the property; (2) the property owner did not create the special circumstances; (3) the variance required was an area variance that was necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of substantial property rights; and (4) the variance would not be materially detrimental to the surrounding area. View "Pawn 1st, LLC v. City of Phoenix" on Justia Law
Albano v. Shea Homes Ltd.
In this lawsuit, one of several suits alleging construction defects in homes located in a Shea Homes planned community, plaintiffs Albert Albano and other homeowners appealed to the circuit court from the district court's summary judgment dismissing their construction-defect claims against Shea Homes as barred by Arizona's statute of repose. The plaintiffs were three homeowners not allowed to join a previous putative class action against Shea Homes. On appeal, plaintiffs contended that the district court erred in failing to apply American Pipe v. Utah, which tolls the applicable statute of limitations for non-named class members until class certification is denied, to the period between the filing of the previous putative class action lawsuit and the denial of class certification. The Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction to answer the certified question of whether the American Pipe tolling rule would also apply to a statute of repose. The Court held that the class-action tolling doctrine does not apply to statutes of repose, and more specifically, to the statute of repose for construction defects.