Justia Real Estate & Property Law Opinion Summaries

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Golf Village owns, maintains, and administers a 900-acre planned community in Powell, including one of 11 separate lots in a commercial development. A 2003 “Declaration of Private Roads” refers to the use of private roads by each commercial lot owner, its employees, customers, and invitees. In 2010, one lot was transferred to the city for a municipal park. In 2018, the City began using three streets without Golf Village’s permission, removed a curb, and built a construction entrance. Golf Village sued (42 U.S.C. 1983), claiming that Powell has taken its property without just compensation or due process.The Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the suit. Golf Village did not establish the loss of its right to exclude; it could terminate the alleged taking by building a gate at the private street's entrance to ensure that everyone who drives on those streets is an invited guest. Under Golf Village’s analysis, any time the government took an action that made a property owner’s property more popular, regardless of what actions the property owner could take, there would be a taking. Any increased traffic, which may lead to additional maintenance costs, is merely a government action outside the owner’s property that causes consequential damages within. There are no material allegations that Golf Village cannot use and enjoy the private roads to the extent that it did before the City’s actions. View "Golf Village North, LLC v. City of Powell" on Justia Law

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In 2014, Seven Hills LLC began developing a cannabis production and processing business in Chelan County, Washington. After Seven Hills procured the relevant permits and began building on its property, Chelan County (County) passed Resolution 2015-94, which placed a moratorium on siting new cannabis-related businesses. While the moratorium was in place, Seven Hills received the necessary state licenses and began operating its cannabis production and processing business. Shortly thereafter, the County passed Resolution 2016-14, which changed the relevant ordinances resulting in the barring of new cannabis-related businesses. Seven Hills received a notice and order to abate zoning from the County Department of Community Development, containing four allegations: that Seven Hills had (1) produced and processed cannabis in violation of Resolution 2016-14; (2) constructed and operated unpermitted structures; (3) operated unpermitted propane tanks; and (4) created a public nuisance. A hearing examiner found Seven Hills committed all four violations; the trial court and the Court of Appeals affirmed. The Washington Supreme Court held the County’s resolution declaring a moratorium on siting new cannabis production and processing activities did not amend or replace existing zoning ordinances, and that Seven Hills established a nonconforming use prior to adoption of Resolution 2016-14. Further, the Court held that Resolution 2016-14 did amend the County’s ordinances defining agricultural use, but did not retroactively extinguish vested rights. Accordingly, the Court of Appeals was reversed in part and the matter remanded for further proceedings. View "Seven Hills, LLC v. Chelan County" on Justia Law

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The School Board sought equitable relief from Crest Hill ordinances creating a real property tax increment financing (TIF) district and attendant redevelopment plan and project, pursuant to the Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act (65 ILCS 5/11-74.4-1). The Board complained that Crest Hill violated the TIF Act by including parcels of realty in the redevelopment project area that were not contiguous. An excluded parcel is owned by the utility company, is located outside the incorporated boundaries of the municipality and the boundaries of the redevelopment project area, and physically separates the parcels the municipality found to be contiguous for purposes of including them in the redevelopment project area.The circuit court granted Crest Hill summary judgment. The Appellate Court reversed. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the reversal. A public-utility-right-of-way exception to the contiguity requirement for annexation, found in the Municipal Code (65 ILCS 5/7-1-1), does not apply as an exception to contiguity required by the TIF Act. This case does not involve contiguous properties running parallel and adjacent to each other in a reasonably substantial physical sense, wherein a public utility owns a right-of-way, or easement, to pass through one or both of the physically adjacent properties. View "Board of Education of Richland School District No. 88A v. City of Crest Hill" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied as moot the writ of mandamus sought by Malcolm and Mary Wood seeking to compel Rocky River Board of Zoning and Building Appeals and its members (collectively, the zoning board) to stay their approval of a development plan and hear their appeals, holding that subsequent events had rendered the case moot.After the planning commission approved a proposed real estate development in Rocky River the Woods, who lived next to the site, filed an appeal. The zoning board declared the notice of appeal void on the grounds that the appeal was not completed or perfected within a timely fashion. The Woods subsequently filed a complaint for a writ of mandamus. The Supreme Court denied the writ of mandamus as moot because the construction of the project was substantially underway. View "State ex rel. Wood v. Rocky River" on Justia Law

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A Monterey pine tree grows in the Prices’s backyard and obstructs Kahn’s views of the San Francisco Bay and Marin County from the main level of her residence. Kahn sought relief under the San Francisco Tree Dispute Resolution Ordinance, which creates “rights in favor of private property owners” to restore their “views lost due to tree growth” on adjoining property.The court entered judgment in favor of Kahn, directing the tree’s removal, and granting Kahn’s request for Code of Civil Procedure section 128.5 sanctions of $47,345.30, payable by the Prices and their trial counsel Weisberg. The court of appeal affirmed, rejecting arguments that the lawsuit was barred by the statute of limitations, that dismissal was required for Kahn’s failure to comply with the Ordinance’s prelitigation procedures, and that the trial court erred in directing the tree’s removal. The court also upheld the award of sanctions. The lawsuit “meets the crucial test” for an action to abate a continuing nuisance for which any statute of limitations is inapplicable. The court was not required to dismiss the action predicated on Kahn’s failure to include in her prelitigation tree claim visual images of unobstructed views from the main level of her residence before the growth of the tree. View "Kahn v. Price" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court upholding the Broadwater Conservation District's (BCD) declaratory ruling determining that Montana Gulch is a "stream" subject to the regulatory provisions of The Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act of 1975, Mont. Code Ann. 75-7-103, holding that there was no error.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) the BCD and the district court did not err in determining that Montana Gulch could be classified as a "natural, perennial-flowing stream" under the jurisdiction of the Streambed Act upon a finding that it would have flowed perennially without human activity; (2) the BCD properly examined historical evidence when determining whether Montana Gulch would have flowed perennially in the absence of human activity; (3) the BCD's determination that Montana Gulch was under the Streambed Act's jurisdiction was not arbitrary and capricious; and (4) the BCD and the district court did not err in considering subsurface flows in Montana Gulch. View "Fortner v. Broadwater Conservation District" on Justia Law

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Joliet condemned a housing complex managed by New West and paid $15 million. HUD rent subsidies for low-income tenants provided almost all of the money for operating the development. A $2.7 million fund had been established by New West and HUD, to cover necessary maintenance and repairs in the event of a default by New West. HUD refused to release that account to New West, contending that it now holds the account to cover Joliet’s obligations.The Seventh Circuit affirmed the summary judgment rejection of New West’s suit to recover the account. New West cannot establish conversion of the fund without first establishing ownership. HUD’s lien on the fund does not establish ownership of the fund and New West has not established its ownership by showing that it treated deposits into the fund as taxable income. View "New West, L.P. v. Fudge" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court clarifying an order it entered in 2017 dividing the Aimone Ranch into two parcels, holding that the district court properly clarified its 2017 order under Wyo. R. Civ. P. 60(a) and denied Rex Snyder's remaining claims.As part of Rex and Ronda Snyder's divorce proceedings, the district court divided the Aimone Ranch into two parcels. The order, however, did not specify the dividing line between the parcels, nor did it address fencing. In 2019, Rex built a fence to separate the parcels, and Ronda refused to pay half the fencing costs. Rex filed a motion seeking to enforce the 2017 order and requesting that the court order Ronda to accept a quit claim deed for her parcel as fenced, accept an easement over his parcel, and reimburse him for half the fencing costs. The district court clarified its 2017 order and denied Rex's remaining claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no error. View "Snyder v. Snyder" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Luminant in a trespass-to-try-title action against defendants. The court concluded that Luminant demonstrated, by uncontested evidence, its adverse and peaceable possession of the tracts of land also claimed by defendants for at least ten years, satisfying Texas's adverse possession statutes. Therefore, Luminant is vested with a fee simple interest in the disputed tracts and summary judgment in its favor was proper. View "Luminant Mining Co., LLC v. PakeyBey" on Justia Law

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The Sumter County Board of Education ("the SCBE") appealed a circuit court's dismissal of its complaint asserting claims of reformation of a deed, breach of contract, and fraud, as well as seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, against the University of West Alabama ("UWA"); UWA's president Dr. Kenneth Tucker, in his individual and official capacities; and UWA's former president, Dr. Richard Holland, in his individual and official capacities. Because a new high school had been built, in early 2010 the SCBE closed Livingston High School ("LHS"). Shortly thereafter, officials from UWA approached the SCBE about the possibility of purchasing the LHS property. In 2011, a "Statutory Warranty Deed" conveying the LHS property from the SCBE to UWA ("the deed") was executed, and it was signed on the SCBE's behalf by Dr. Morton. The deed did not contain any restrictions on the LHS property or its use. The deed was recorded in the Sumter Probate Court on June 27, 2011. In May 2017, the University Charter School ("UCS") filed an application with the Alabama Public Charter School Commission ("the APCSC") to establish a charter school in Sumter County. In its application, UCS stated that the LHS property was its first choice for the location of the school. The APCSC approved UCS's application in July 2017. In October 2017, it was publicly announced that UWA had an agreement with UCS for UCS to use the LHS property to house its school.3 The SCBE's complaint alleged that in November 2017 the SCBE contacted UWA president Dr. Tucker and "requested that Defendant UWA honor its covenant not to use Livingston High School property as a K-12 charter school." However, UCS continued its preparations, and in August 2018 UCS opened its charter school on the LHS property with over 300 students attending. In May 2018, the SCBE filed the complaint at issue here, and the circuit court ultimately dismissed the complaint. Because the Alabama Supreme Court found that a restrictive covenant in the sales contract violated clear public policies of the Alabama School Choice and Student Opportunity Act, the restrictive covenant was unenforceable. Therefore, the circuit court's judgment dismissing all the claims against the University defendants was affirmed. View "Sumter County Board of Education v. University of West Alabama, et al." on Justia Law