The beach property in question originally was not zoned for a residential development and upon a rezoning by the City Council, the Committee of Petitioners was formed. The Committee subsequently obtained the requisite number of signatures in order to have the Council repeal the ordinance. As a direct result of the petition, the Council did repeal the ordinance. However, POH LLC, with the city’s assent, manifested an intention to proceed with the development of the beach property. The City restricted the Committee’s activities to pursuing a petition to repeal a new city zoning ordinance permitting the proposed development. In its quest for relief, the Committee filed for a declaratory judgment against the appellees, City of Hampton, stating that a proposed development in the city was unlawful.
The Circuit Court held that the Committee had standing to file the instant action, but did not exhaust its administrative remedies since it failed to appeal the City administrator’s Vested Rights Determination. In contrast, the Supreme Court held that the Committee lacked standing, although it did affirm the Circuit Court decision to dismiss the complaint. The Court reasoned that following the City Council’s repeal of the ordinance that allowed for the development of the property, the Committee had no ongoing justiciable right or interest that could be aggrieved by the development of the Buckroe Beach Property. Since the authority of the Committee to act had come to an end and its purpose no longer existed when the ordinance was repealed, there was nothing to give rise to legal standing at that point in time.
Eddie Deerfield v. City of Hampton, 2012 WL 1377341 (VA 4/20/2012)
The opinion can be accessed at: http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinions/opnscvwp/1111144.pdf