Justia Zoning, Planning & Land Use Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Civil Procedure
Van Sant & Co. v. Town of Calhan, et al.
Plaintiff Van Sant & Co. (Van Sant) owned and operated a mobile home park in Calhan, Colorado, for a number of years. In 2018, Van Sant began to publicly explore the possibility of converting its mobile home park to an RV park. In October 2018, Calhan adopted an ordinance that imposed regulations on the development of new RV parks, but also included a grandfather clause that effectively exempted the two existing RV parks in Calhan, one of which was connected to the grandparents of two members of Calhan’s Board of Trustees (Board) who voted in favor of the new RV park regulations. Van Sant subsequently filed suit against Calhan, several members of its Board, the owners of one of the existing RV parks, and other related individuals. asserting antitrust claims under the Sherman Act, as well as substantive due process and equal protection claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The defendants successfully moved for summary judgment. Van Sant appealed, but finding no reversible error, the Tenth Circuit affirmed. View "Van Sant & Co. v. Town of Calhan, et al." on Justia Law
Tidwell, et al. v. Blaine County, et al.
Plaintiffs Kiki Leslie Tidwell (“Tidwell”) and the Madison Jean Tidwell Trust opposed an affordable housing project on land dedicated to Blaine County, Idaho for public use. Plaintiffs contended the Final Plat contemplated the land be held for open space and recreational use, but Blaine County contracted with ARCH Community Housing Trust (“ARCH”) and Blaine County Housing Authority (“BCHA”) to donate a parcel ("Parcel C") to BCHA to construct community housing. Plaintiffs filed a complaint against the County, ARCH, and BCHA (collectively “the County”) seeking declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and damages to Tidwell under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The district court ultimately dismissed Tidwell’s section 1983 claim, but the district court allowed Plaintiffs to pursue the remaining claims, despite the County’s contention that Plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the complaint. Following a series of unsuccessful dispositive motions seeking summary and partial summary judgment on both sides, the case proceeded to court trial, where Plaintiffs prevailed on both claims for declaratory and injunctive relief. The district court denied Tidwell’s request for attorney fees. The County appealed, and Tidwell cross-appealed the dismissal of her section 1983 claim and both Plaintiffs appealed the district court’s denial of attorney fees. On appeal, the County again raised its standing argument, contending Plaintiffs had no particularized interest in the parcel and suffered no particularized injury. If Plaintiffs had standing, the County claimed the district court erred by concluding the Final Plat was ambiguous and by permitting extrinsic evidence, including testimony of what the parties intended to construct on the parcel when the land was transferred. The Plaintiffs cross-appealed, with Tidwell alleging the district court erred in dismissing her procedural and substantive due process claims brought under 42 U.S.C. 1983. Both Plaintiffs also contended the district court abused its discretion in denying their claim for attorney fees. The Idaho Supreme Court vacated the district court's judgment because Plaintiffs lacked standing to assert their claims. Costs, but not attorney fees, were awarded on appeal to the County. View "Tidwell, et al. v. Blaine County, et al." on Justia Law
Leo v. Oklahoma Water Resources Board
Petitioners Debbie Leo d/b/a Miller Lake Retreat, LLC, Larinda McClellan, Louise Redman Trust, Walter Myrl Redman, and Kenneth Roberts appealed a district court's order affirming the Oklahoma Water Resources Board's (the OWRB) final order granting a permit to The City of Oklahoma City (the City) to divert stream water from the Kiamichi River in Pushmataha County, Oklahoma. The City cross-appealed the district court's order denying its motion to dismiss Petitioners' petition for judicial review for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The City contended Petitioners' failure to name the City as a respondent in their petition for judicial review of the OWRB's order was a fatal, jurisdictional flaw under the Oklahoma Administrative Procedures Act, (OAPA). The Oklahoma Supreme Court held that 75 O.S.2011, § 318(B)(2) required that the agency (here, the OWRB) be named as a respondent in the caption of the petition for review for the district court to acquire jurisdiction to review a final agency order. However, Section 318(B)(2) of the OAPA did not require the City be named as a respondent in the petition. Therefore, the district court's order finding it had jurisdiction to review the final agency order was affirmed. The Supreme Court further held the district court properly applied the Four Points of Law in O.A.C. § 785:20-5-4, including using the OWRB's calculation of available stream water and evaluation of beneficial use, which was based on substantial evidence in the record, with no findings of prejudicial error. Therefore, the district court's order affirming the OWRB's order was affirmed. View "Leo v. Oklahoma Water Resources Board" on Justia Law
Berger, et al. v. Sellers, et al.
Darren and Tamara Berger (“Bergers”) appealed a judgment dismissing their claims of violation of a planned unit development (PUD), breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, private nuisance, and negligence against their neighbors Jason and Krysta Sellers (“Sellers”), Sellers’ homebuilder Jordan Anderson and Big River Builders, Inc. (together, “Builder”), and the Misty Waters Owners’ Association (“Association”). Sellers and Builder cross-appealed the judgment dismissing their claims of defamation, interference with contract and business, and negligence against Bergers and neighbor Jeff Carlson. The central issue in this case was whether the PUD minimum setback from the bay could be changed by obtaining a new Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) without an amendment to the PUD. To this, the North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the PUD unambiguously set the minimum setback from the bay as the contour line in the 2005 LOMR-F and therefore Sellers’ home violated the PUD. The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment on Bergers’ claims against Sellers for violation of the PUD, breach of restrictive covenants, negligence (drainage), and private nuisance (setbacks). The Court remanded with instructions to grant Bergers partial summary judgment on their claims against Sellers for violation of the PUD and breach of restrictive covenants and for declaratory relief (against Sellers) as requested in their motion for partial summary judgment. The Court reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment on Bergers’ claims against the Association for breach of fiduciary duty and negligence. The Court affirmed the court’s grant of summary judgment on all of Bergers’ claims against Builder, namely the PUD violation, breach of restrictive covenants, and negligence. The Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment on Bergers’ claims against the Association for breach of restrictive covenants and private nuisance. The Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment on all of Sellers’ and Builder’s claims. View "Berger, et al. v. Sellers, et al." on Justia Law
Bracken v. City of Ketchum
This appeal was about whether an aggrieved applicant could bring a direct action against a city, its administrators, and its mayor for alleged misconduct pertaining to the granting of a conditional use permit without first exhausting administrative remedies and seeking judicial review. The answer is almost always “no,” but based on the unique facts in this case the Idaho Supreme Court held that the applicant was excused from exhausting administrative remedies. View "Bracken v. City of Ketchum" on Justia Law
Republic Building Co., Inc. v. Charter Township of Clinton, Michigan
In 1999, the plaintiffs sought to develop condominiums but needed rezoning approval from the Charter Township of Clinton. After a protracted dispute, the plaintiffs sued the Township in Michigan state court. That court entered a consent judgment that dictated the conditions for rezoning the property and completing the project. Years later, after experiencing several setbacks, the plaintiffs sought to amend the consent judgment, but the Township refused.The plaintiffs then filed suit in federal court, alleging several constitutional violations and a breach-of-contract claim. The Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the suit. The consent judgment contains a “retaining-jurisdiction” provision providing Macomb County Circuit Court jurisdiction over its interpretation and enforcement. A separate lawsuit filed in federal district court would constitute a collateral attack on the consent judgment, requiring the district court in some way to interpret or enforce it. All of plaintiffs’ alleged constitutional violations stem from the Township’s alleged refusal to “honor its obligations under the Consent Judgment to allow plaintiffs to develop the Subject Property.” View "Republic Building Co., Inc. v. Charter Township of Clinton, Michigan" on Justia Law
Weiss, et al. v. Town of Sunapee
Plaintiffs Bradley Weiss and Cathleen Shea appealed a superior court order granting defendant Town of Sunapee's (Town) motion to dismiss. The trial court determined that, because plaintiffs failed to request a second rehearing from the Town’s Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA), the court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over their appeal. The New Hampshire Supreme Court reversed and remanded: pursuant to RSA 677:3, plaintiffs perfected their appeal to the superior court from the ZBA’s April 1 denial by timely moving for rehearing. View "Weiss, et al. v. Town of Sunapee" on Justia Law
Bindas. v. PennDOT
In 2015, the Department of Transportation (“PennDOT”) began constructing a diamond interchange and installing a drainage system on property abutting Interstate 70 (“I-70”) in Washington County, Pennsylvania. The property’s owner, Appellant Donald Bindas, petitioned for the appointment of a board of viewers, seeking compensation for this encumbrance upon his land. PennDOT asserted that its predecessor, the Department of Highways (“DOH”), had secured a highway easement for the land in question in 1958. Both the trial court and the Commonwealth Court agreed, dismissing Bindas’ suit. Upon its review of the statutory authority that PennDOT invoked, as well as the record, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found that DOH’s failure to comply with the requirements of 36 P.S. § 670-210 rendered that easement invalid. Accordingly, the Court vacated the Commonwealth Court’s order, and remanded with the instruction that PennDOT’s preliminary objections be overruled. View "Bindas. v. PennDOT" on Justia Law
Altizer v. Coachella Valley Conservation Com.
Appellant Tanner Altizer suffered serious injuries when he ran into a suspended cable fence while riding his off-road motorcycle on an unpaved area in an unoccupied area of the desert. The owner of the property, respondent Coachella Valley Conservation Commission (the Commission), placed the cable fence around its property to stop illegal dumping and off-road vehicles in order to protect the sensitive habitat. Altizer sued the Commission, alleging that the cable fence created a dangerous condition on public property. The trial court granted summary judgment for the Commission, and Altizer appealed. After review, the Court of Appeal concluded the Commission was entitled to hazardous recreational activity immunity under Government Code section 831.71 and affirmed. View "Altizer v. Coachella Valley Conservation Com." on Justia Law
Sunrise Resort Association, Inc. v. Cheboygan County Road Commission
The plaintiffs brought this action after the defendant modified a storm water drainage system, allegedly causing flooding onto their property. The plaintiffs raised two distinct claims that remained at issue on appeal: a claim under the sewage-disposal-system- event (SDSE) exception to governmental immunity under the governmental tort liability act (GTLA), and a common-law trespass-nuisance claim seeking injunctive relief. The trial court dismissed both claims as untimely under the applicable three-year statute of limitations. Like the Court of Appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court disagreed, holding the SDSE claim, which sought relief only in connection with flooding that occurred within the three-year window, was timely. However, unlike the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court concluded that because the defendant was immune with respect to the plaintiffs’ common-law trespass-nuisance claim, that claim was properly dismissed. In light of this holding, the Court vacated as unnecessary the Court of Appeals’ holding that the trespass-nuisance claim was timely. Finally, because the plaintiffs only sought injunctive relief in connection with that claim, their request for an injunction was invalid. Therefore, the Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to the defendant with respect to the plaintiff’s SDSE claim, affirmed with respect to the common-law trespass-nuisance claim, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Sunrise Resort Association, Inc. v. Cheboygan County Road Commission" on Justia Law