Archive for the ‘Standing’ Category

Georgia Court of Appeals Sets Aside Rezoning Decision Made Without Site Plan Where Local Zoning Ordinance Required Site Plan And Consideration of Specific Criteria

The Georgia Court of Appeals reversed a Banks County rezoning decision as violative of its zoning ordinance where its county commission approved a rezoning application that did not include a site plan.  The Court of Appeals held that the local zoning ordinance required county officials to review rezoning applications based on specific criteria, such as the land use, development suitability, and the impact of the rezoning on nearby property. The Court of Appeals noted that without a site plan, officials had little information about the rezoning applicant’s actual proposed use and how that use would affect the property, hindering their ability to analyze the required criteria.

The Court of Appeals held that the county officials neglected to obtain the required site plan from the rezoning applicant, thus ignoring mandatory zoning requirements and depriving themselves of key information relating to the proposed development.  The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and remanded the rezoning decision to the county commission for further consideration in compliance with its order.

Keep reading for GZB’s summary of Harden v. Banks County, 294 Ga. App. 327, 670 S.E.2d 133, decided November 8, 2008.

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GZB Publisher Wins at Georgia Supreme Court

GZB creator and publisher Kyle Williams recently obtained a reversal from the Georgia Supreme Court of a trial court’s dismissal of a rezoning challenge for failure to state a claim and for failure to join indispensable parties. 

In Stendahl et al. v. Cobb County et al., the Georgia Supreme Court reversed the dismissal by the Cobb County Superior Court of a neighbors’ challenge to a rezoning decision.  The Cobb County Superior Court had held that the neighbors had not stated a claim upon which relief could be granted based solely upon the complaint.  In reversing the dismissal, the Georgia Supreme Court held that the trial court misapplied the standard of review of a rezoning decision. 

In what appears to be a new definition, the Georgia Supreme Court also reversed the trial court’s dismissal for failure to join indispensable parties and explicitedly defined who were indispensable parties in a neighbor’s challenge to a rezoning decision. 

When the owner of the property for which re-zoning is sought is not the applicant for re-zoning but has entered into a contract for the sale of the property with the re-zoning applicant, which contract is contingent upon the applicant obtaining re-zoning, the owner does not fit within the definition of  “indispensable party” because the case could be decided on its merits without prejudicing the rights of the owners since the re-zoning applicant is a party and presents a thorough case on behalf of itself and, ultimately the owner. 

Stendahl et al. v. Cobb County et al., Case No. S08A1395, decided on October 27, 2008.

Non-Hispanic Landlord Can Sue City for Race Discrimination Challenging Overcrowding Ordinance

The United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit reversed a dismissal that had thrown out a lawsuit by a non-Hispanic landlord suing Juniper, Florida for race discrimination in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because of its enactment of an Overcrowding Ordinance and enforcement only against properties that housed Hispanic immigrant tenants.   

The Overcrowding Ordinance stated that no more than five persons, not related by blood or marriage, could occupy a single housing unit.  The Overcrowding Ordinance did provide an exemption for children less than eighteen years old.  

The Eleventh Circuit held that the non-Hispanic landlord could sue the Juniper for race discrimination because it suffered financial injury on lost rent and the lost sale of its property, the injuries were caused by the enactment of the Overcrowding Ordinance, and the damages sought in the lawsuit would remedy the injuries.  The Eleventh Circuit also held that the non-Hispanic landlord had third party standing to assert the rights of the Hispanic tenants.  The Eleventh Circuit dismissed the district court’s finding that “a non-Hispanic landlord lacks standing to bring a race discrimination claim on behalf of its Hispanic residents.” 

Keep reading for GZB’s summary of Young Apartments, Inc. v. Town of Jupiter, Florida, U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, No. 07-12076, decided June 5, 2008.  

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Georgia Court of Appeals Distinguishes Dock Permit from a Dock

On May 22, 2008, the Court of Appeals of Georgia found that a permit had been issued by the Army Corps of Engineers to allow the construction of a private dock over state-owned tidewater beds and marsh lands does not mean that any damage will occur upon the construction of that dock.  The Court upheld the dismissal of an appeal from the issuance of a dock permit because the challenger did not possess standing because the dock had not yet been built. 

Keep reading for GZB’s summary of Hitch v. Vasarhelyi, Court of Appeals of Georgia, Case No. A08A0065, decided May 22, 2008. 

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