Articles Posted in Zoning, Planning & Land Use

by
Plaintiff, a tattoo artist and long-time resident of Long Beach, filed suit against the City, alleging that the City's zoning ordinances violated the First Amendment by unreasonably restricting his ability to open and operate a tattoo shop in Long Beach. The district court entered judgment for the City. The court concluded that the district court inaccurately narrowed plaintiff's claims in its order by framing plaintiff's challenge as only to the conditional use permit (CUP) requirement, when plaintiff also challenged the location restrictions on tattoo shops; ignoring plaintiff's claim that the CUP process vests unbridled discretion in the City; and stating that plaintiff's claim only concerned his desire to open a shop at 316 Elm Street in the East Village Arts District, when this was just one of three locations that plaintiff initially identified in his letter to the City. The court held that plaintiff has standing to bring a facial first amendment challenge to the City's zoning ordinances where he was not required to first apply for, and then be denied, a CUP to bring this claim under a permitting system that allegedly gives City officials unfettered discretion over protected activity; plaintiff has standing to bring an as-applied First Amendment challenge to the City's zoning ordinances where it appeared likely that the City would take action against plaintiff if he opened a tattoo shop without a CUP; plaintiff raised a cognizable claim that the City's zoning ordinances constituted an unlawful prior restraint on speech; and plaintiff raised a cognizable claim that the City's ordinances constituted unlawful time, place, or manner restrictions on speech. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Real v. City of Long Beach" on Justia Law

by
In these consolidated appeals, appellants challenged the constitutionality of five city ordinances that regulate mobile billboards. One of the ordinances limits the type of sign that may be affixed to motor vehicles parked or left standing on public streets; the other ordinances prohibit non-motorized, “mobile billboard advertising displays” within city limits. Unlike the Supreme Court's recent decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, the mobile billboard ordinances in this case do not single out a specific subject matter for differential treatment, nor is any kind of mobile billboard exempted from regulation based on its content. The court explained that an officer seeking to enforce the non-motorized billboard ordinances must decide only whether an offending vehicle constitutes a prohibited “advertising display” because its primary purpose is to display messages, as opposed to transporting passengers or carrying cargo. Therefore, the court concluded that the district court appropriately found the ordinances to be content neutral. The court also concluded that none of the ordinances are substantially broader than necessary to accomplish the cities' goals of eliminating visual blight and promoting the safe and convenient flow of traffic. Furthermore, the mobile billboard ordinances leave open adequate alternative opportunities for advertising. Because the mobile billboard ordinances are content neutral, narrowly tailored to serve the government's significant aesthetic and safety interests, and leave open ample alternative channels of communication, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Lone Star Sec. & Video v. City of Los Angeles" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff and two other individuals, seeking to operate a gun shop in the County, challenged the County's ordinance which requires that the proposed location of the business is not within 500 feet of a residentially zoned district. The district court subsequently granted the County's motion to dismiss for failure to state claim. The court concluded that, because plaintiff's equal protection challenge is no more than a Second Amendment claim dressed in equal protection clothing, it is subsumed by, and coextensive with the former, and therefore is not cognizable under the Equal Protection Clause. Nor did plaintiff adequately plead a class-of-one Equal Protection claim where plaintiff acknowledges that gun stores are materially different from other retail businesses and therefore is not a similarly situated business. The court concluded that the right to purchase and to sell firearms is part and parcel of the historically recognized right to keep and to bear arms, and that the Ordinance's potential interference was a proper basis for plaintiff's Second Amendment challenge. Furthermore, the Ordinance burdens conduct protected by the Second Amendment and is subject to heightened scrutiny. Under this standard, the court concluded that the County failed to carry its burden of demonstrating that there was a reasonable fit between the challenged regulation and its asserted objective. In this case, the County failed to satisfy its burden because it never justified the assertion that gun stores act as magnets for crime. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Teixeira v. County of Alameda" on Justia Law

by
Developers filed suit against the City, contending that the City’s refusal to rezone land to permit higher-density development violated, among other things, the Equal Protection Clause and the Fair Housing Act (FHA), 42 U.S.C. 3601 et seq. Developers maintain that the City’s refusal stemmed from intentional discrimination against Hispanics and created a disparate impact. The court held that Developers presented plausible claims for relief for disparate treatment under the FHA and under the Equal Protection Clause where the City Council denied Developers’ request for rezoning despite the advice of its own experts to the contrary and in the context of what a reasonable jury could interpret as racially charged opposition by Yuma residents. Further, this was the only request for rezoning that the City had denied in the last three years. Because the complaint passes the plausibility bar given these circumstances, the court reversed and remanded. The court also reversed and remanded the grant of summary judgment for the City on the disparate-impact claim, rejecting the district court’s view that other similarly-priced and similarly modeled housing available elsewhere necessarily precluded a finding that there was a disparate impact. The court vacated the denial of the second summary judgment as moot and remanded for the district court to address the motion in the first instance. View "Avenue 6E Investments, LLC v. City of Yuma" on Justia Law

by
Agnes and Anne Purdy dispute the State’s claim of ownership to rights-of-way for four public trails that cross the Purdys' land, seeking to stop members of the public from trespassing on their property by using the trails. The Purdys acquired ownership of the parcels in question under the Alaska Native Allotment Act, 43 U.S.C. 270–1 et seq. The State filed suit against the Purdys and the United States, contending that the Purdys' allotments are subject to rights-of-way. The State further alleges that, by virtue of public use, it acquired ownership of the rights-of-way under an unusual federal statute known as R.S. 2477. The district court dismissed the quiet title and declaratory judgment claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and entered partial final judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b). The remainder of the action has been stayed pending resolution of this appeal. The court concluded that the district court correctly held that the State’s quiet title claim is barred because the United States is a necessary party to that claim but has not waived its immunity from suit pursuant to the Indian lands exception of the Quiet Title Act (QTA), 28 U.S.C. 2409a. The court also concluded that the district court correctly dismissed the State’s claim for declaratory relief under 28 U.S.C. 2201, which sought essentially the same relief as the quiet title claim. Although the district court had subject matter jurisdiction to hear the State’s condemnation claim, that claim may not proceed as pleaded. The court remanded as to this claim so that the State may be given an opportunity to amend the claim. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "State of Alaska Dept. of Nat. Res. v. United States" on Justia Law

by
This appeal stems from a dispute between the future development of the historical heart of the Presidio of San Francisco, the Main Post. The Main Post is managed by the Trust, created by the Presidio Trust Act, 16 U.S.C. 460bb app. The Trust is governed by both the Presidio Trust Act and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), 54 U.S.C.A. 300101 et seq. This appeal is limited to the Trust's amendment of the Presidio Trust Management Plan, which proposed a new lodge adjacent to the Presidio's Main Parade Ground. The court concluded that the Trust’s Update with respect to the proposed lodge and the offsetting demolition in the Main Post area is consistent with Section 104(c)(3) because it constitutes “replacement of existing structures of similar size in existing areas of development” under the Presidio Trust Act. The court also concluded that the Trust’s procedural undertakings meet the heightened standard of care imposed by Section 110(f) of the NHPA to undertake “to the maximum extent possible . . . such planning and actions as may be necessary to minimize harm to the landmark.” Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Presidio Historical Ass'n v. Presidio Trust" on Justia Law

by
The United States filed suit against E. Wayne Hage, who is now deceased, and his son, Wayne N. Hage, alleging that they grazed cattle on federal lands without a permit or other authorization. The court concluded that defendants' unauthorized grazing of cattle on federal lands was unlawful, and their water rights have no effect on the analysis. Further, defendants' counterclaim under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 701(a)(2), is barred by the statute of limitations. The court reversed the judgment for defendants on their counterclaims and remanded with instructions that the district court enter judgment for the government; vacated the judgment with respect to the government’s trespass claims and remanded for reconsideration under the correct legal standard; and, on remand, the district court shall determine, among other things, whether the source of law - state law or federal law - has any effect on the calculation of damages. On remand, the court ordered the cased assigned to a different district judge. View "United States v. Estate of E. Wayne Hage" on Justia Law

by
El Dorado, a mobile home park owner located in the City of Fillmore alleged that the City interfered with an application for a subdivision of its seniors-only mobile home park by causing unreasonable delays and imposing extralegal conditions because of a fear that subdivisions would lead to El Dorado opening the Park to families. El Dorado's complaint was dismissed for lack of standing. The court concluded, however, that El Dorado had Article III standing where El Dorado suffered a concrete and particularized, actual, injury, in the form of added expenses caused by the City's interference of the application. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings.View "El Dorado Estates v. City of Fillmore" on Justia Law

by
This appeal arose from a proceeding brought by the Klallam under the continuing jurisdiction of a 1974 decree issued by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, and it involved a dispute over the geographic scope of the Lummi's "usual and accustomed fishing grounds." The court held that the law of the case doctrine applies only when the issue was decided explicitly or by necessary implication in the previous disposition. In this case, the court held that no prior decision has yet explicitly or by necessary implication determined whether the waters immediately west of northern Whidbey Island are a part of the Lummi's usual and accustomed fishing grounds. Therefore, the district court erred in concluding that the issue was controlled by law of the case and the court reversed the grant of Klallam's motion for summary judgment, remanding for further proceedings.View "Lower Elwha Klallam Indian Tribe v. Lummi Nation" on Justia Law

by
ATC filed suit challenging the City's denial of its Conditional Use Permit (CUP) applications for three of its San Diego telecommunications facilities. ATC raised claims under, among other provisions, the California Permit Streamlining Act (PSA), Cal. Gov't Code 65956(b); the Federal Telecommunications Act (TCA), 47 U.S.C. 332; California Code of Civil Procedure 1094.5; and the Equal Protection Clause. The court reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of ATC on the PSA claim because the court concluded that the CUP applications were not deemed approved before the City denied them. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment on the TCA claim where the City evaluated the CUP applications under the proper provision of the Land Development Code and supported its decision to deny them with substantial evidence; the City did not unreasonably discriminate among providers of functionally equivalent services because ATC and the City are not "similarly situated" providers; and ATC has failed to show effective prohibition because it has not demonstrated that its proposals were the least intrusive means of filling a significant gap in coverage. ATC could not prevail on California Code of Civil Procedure 1094.5 because it does not have a fundamental vested right to the continued use of the Verus, Border, and Mission Valley Facilities. There was no violation of the Equal Protection Clause because the City's decision to deny the CUP applications was rationally related to the City's legitimate interest in minimizing the aesthetic impact of wireless facilities and in providing public communications services. Accordingly, the court reversed in part and affirmed in part.View "American Tower Corp. v. City of San Diego" on Justia Law