Justia Zoning, Planning & Land Use Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Idaho Supreme Court - Civil
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John and Deborah Rouwenhorst, on behalf of Desert Foothills Wet, LLC, and Desert Foothills Dry, LLC, submitted a rezoning application seeking to reclassify 696 acres in Gem County (the Property) from A-1, Prime Agriculture to A-2, Rural Transitional Agriculture. Although the Gem County Zoning Commission recommended approval of the rezone, the Board of County Commissioners denied the application. After unsuccessfully moving for reconsideration, the Rouwenhorsts petitioned for judicial review. The district court reversed the Board’s denial of the rezoning application and awarded attorney fees and costs to the Rouwenhorsts. Gem County appealed. The Idaho Supreme Court reversed, finding the Board's decision was not arbitrary or capricious because it applied the standards set forth in the Gem County Code for rezoning applications, and was supported by substantial evidence. The district court's decision was reversed, and the attorney fee award vacated. View "Rouwenhorst v. Gem County" on Justia Law

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Citizens Against Linscott/Interstate Asphalt Plant (“CAL”) challenged a conditional use permit (“CUP”) issued by the Bonner County, Idaho Board of Commissioners (“the County”). The CUP was based on a recent amendment to Bonner County zoning ordinances (“the Amendment”) and authorized Interstate Concrete and Asphalt Company (“Interstate”) to operate an asphalt batch plant within Frank and Carol Linscott’s gravel mine in Sagle, Idaho. In its petition for judicial review by the Bonner County district court, CAL challenged both the validity of the Amendment and the County’s decision to issue the CUP. The district court determined that CAL had standing to file its petition for judicial review of the CUP and that CAL had timely filed its petition. However, the district court concluded that it could not declare the Amendment invalid in a proceeding for judicial review under Idaho Local Land Use Planning Act (“LLUPA”) and the Idaho Administrative Procedure Act (“IDAPA”). Accordingly, the district court upheld the County’s decision to grant the CUP, giving the County deference in applying its own land-use ordinances. During the pendency of this appeal, CAL filed an action for declaratory relief before another district court judge to have the Amendment declared void. In that proceeding, the County admitted that the Amendment had been adopted without proper public notice and stipulated to a judgment and order declaring the Amendment void. On appeal of the administrative decision to the Idaho Supreme Court, CAL argued, among other things, that the subsequent voiding of the Amendment also invalidated the CUP or that the CUP was not issued in conformity with Bonner County zoning laws. After review, the Supreme Court affirmed in part, and reversed in part. The Court found the CUP authorizing the relocation of the Interstate asphalt batch plant to the Linscotts’ gravel mine was invalid because it was based on a void amendment to Bonner County Code. Further, the County acted in a manner that was arbitrary and capricious in refusing to address the gravel pit’s compliance with the nonconforming use provisions of BCRC. View "Citizens Against Linscott v. Bonner County Board of Commissioners" on Justia Law

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At the heart of this case was a highway right-of-way proposed and approved in 1908 by the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners (the Board), then purportedly abandoned in 1910. This appeal arose from a decision of the East Side Highway District, the Board’s successor-in-interest, in which it declined to validate this highway right-of-way. In 2017, Gloria Palmer, Trustee of the Palmer Family Trust (the Trust) requested that the District validate the right-of-way. This was opposed by Rande and Debra Warner, and Steffen and Allison Teichmann, over whose land the purported right-of-way traversed. The Warners sought to have the right-of-way abandoned. The Highway District initiated road validation proceedings, after which it declined to validate "Leonard Road No. 2." After this decision, the Highway District granted a motion for reconsideration and reopened the public hearing. After hearing additional evidence and public comments, the Highway District again declined to validate the purported right-of-way. The Trust petitioned the district court for judicial review. The district court affirmed the Highway District’s decision. The Trust again appealed. Finding no reversible error or abuse of discretion, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the district court. View "Palmer v. ESHD" on Justia Law

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This appeal arose from a dispute over the construction of a ready-mix concrete manufacturing facility in Teton County, Idaho. In 2007, Burns Holdings entered into a development agreement with Teton County regarding property owned by Burns Concrete. The development agreement required the construction of a permanent concrete manufacturing facility on the property within 18 months of the execution of the agreement, but allowed operation of a temporary facility in the meantime. Burns Concrete, the concrete company that would operate the facility, and Burns Holdings, a holding company that was to eventually take title to the property, wanted to build a permanent facility that was 75-feet tall, but the applicable zoning ordinance limited building heights to 45-feet. The County denied Burns Holdings’ application for a conditional use permit and its subsequent application for a variance to exceed the height limit. The Burns Companies operated the temporary facility for several years but never constructed the permanent facility. In 2012, the County sent written notice revoking the authority to operate the temporary facility and demanding that the temporary facility be removed. The Burns Companies subsequently filed this action, stating claims for breach of contract, declaratory judgment, and unjust enrichment. The County counterclaimed, alleging breach of contract and seeking declaratory judgment for the removal of the temporary facility. This began a multi-year period of litigation that included two appeals to the Idaho Supreme Court, each followed by a remand to the district court. This case has returned to the Supreme Court again, this time as a result of the parties’ cross-appeals of the district court’s grant of partial summary judgment in favor of the Burns Companies on their breach of contract claim, its award of $1,049.250.90 in damages, and its award of attorney fees. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s grant of partial summary judgment on the issue of breach of contract, but vacated the district court’s judgment for a recalculation of damages. In its recalculation of damages, the district court was instructed to reverse its reduction of damages by the difference between the Temporary Facility’s sales and cost of sales. The Supreme Court vacated the district court’s award of attorney fees and remanded the matter for an explanation of the district court’s reduction of requested attorney fees. View "Burns Concrete v. Teton County" 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 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

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Victor Bliss appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the Minidoka Irrigation District (“MID”). Bliss filed a complaint against MID in April 2017, alleging: (1) breach of contract; (2) breach of fiduciary duty; (3) trespass; (4) declaratory relief; and (5) wrongful prosecution/infliction of extreme emotional distress. The complaint encompassed multiple events stemming from his decades-long relationship with MID. The district court granted MID’s motion for summary judgment on all claims, dismissing Bliss’s complaint for lack of notice under the Idaho Tort Claims Act, lack of standing, and failure to produce evidence. Bliss timely appealed, but finding no reversible error, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed summary judgment. View "Bliss v. Minidoka Irrigation District" on Justia Law

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This appeal involved a dispute between a homeowners’ association and the City of Eagle (“the City”) over the public’s right to use a parking lot located on land owned by a homeowners’ association. T.R. Company, LLC (“T.R.”) was the developer of a subdivision. In November 2002, the City held a public hearing on T.R.’s request for certain concessions from the City associated with the subdivision. The City argued that T.R. offered to dedicate an easement for public parking on Lot 35 at that hearing, and that the offer was accepted when, a few months later, the City approved T.R.’s design review application showing the specific location and design of the parking lot. Respondent Two Rivers Subdivision Homeowners Association, Inc. (“the Association”) argued that no dedication occurred because T.R.’s intent to dedicate was not clear and unequivocal. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Association. After review, the Idaho Supreme Court vacated the district court’s judgment, reversed the district court’s decision on summary judgment, and remanded with instructions to enter judgment in favor of the City and to consider whether the City was entitled to any injunctive relief. View "City of Eagle v. Two Rivers Subdivision HOA" on Justia Law

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Nampa Highway District No. 1 (NHD) brought this action seeking to quiet title to a thirty-three-foot-wide strip of land constituting the south half of West Orchard Avenue in Canyon County, Idaho. NHD claimed that a 1941 deed conveyed the land to NHD. Appellants (defendants-below) argued that because the deed was not recorded until 1989, it did not affect their interests pursuant to the “Shelter Rule,” which protected a purchaser with notice if their predecessor in interest was an innocent purchaser. The district court granted summary judgment in NHD’s favor. After review, the Idaho Supreme Court reversed, finding the district court erred in granting summary judgment when there was a genuine issue of material fact as to what a reasonable investigation by Appellants' predecessors in interest would have revealed. The Supreme Court vacated the district court's declaration that NHD was the fee simple titleholder of the right-of-way, and the matter was remanded for further proceedings. View "Nampa Hwy Dist #1 v. Knight" on Justia Law

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The Board of County Commissioners for Bonner County, Idaho (“Board”) granted Stejer’s, Inc.’s request for three variances (“the Variances”) from applicable lot setbacks required by the Bonner County Revised Code. Neighboring land owners, Frank Hungate and Thomas Hungate, as trustees of the Hungate Trust, the A&E Family L.L.C., Anne Ashburn, Eleanor Jones, Frank Hungate, and John Hungate (collectively “the Hungates”) appealed the Board’s decision. The district court held that the Board erred in approving the Variances, but ultimately affirmed the Board’s decision after it determined that the Hungates failed to show that their substantial rights were prejudiced. The Hungates appealed to the Idaho Supreme Court. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Hungate v. Bonner County" on Justia Law