Posted by: Patricia Salkin | January 14, 2011

Utah Supreme Court Finds Property Owner Properly Filed a Challenge to Challenge Zoning Restrictions and Remands Matter

By ordinance, the County created a basin planning district pursuant to its authority under the Utah County Land Use Development and Management Act (CLUDMA).  The basin district was later converted to a township pursuant to amendments made to the CLUDMA.  The township adopted a local code which regulated development of property in the area.  Gillmor made efforts to sell her property that was located in the township but her efforts failed because of the zoning restrictions set forth in the code.  Gillmor then asked the County to amend the text of the code but her request was denied.  Gillmor appealed and alleged that the code violated CLUDMA as well as the state and federal Constitutions.  Gillmor also submitted a plat application. The County Director of Community Development returned Gillmor’s application and denied her requests because Gillmor did not follow the proper procedures to obtain the right to develop her property. When Gillmor appealed to the Board of Adjustment it upheld the denial of her applications.  The County then filed a motion for summary judgment, which was granted because Gillmor did not bring her cause of action in a timely manner. 

On appeal, the Court looked at whether the trial court properly granted summary judgment because Gillmor’s claims were time barred. The Court disagreed with the lower court and determined that Gillmor’s claims were not time barred because they were properly raised pursuant to CLUDMA. The language in the CLUDMA provides a party with the right to judicial review of any final county land use decision when the decision was in violation of CLUDMA, the decision adversely affected the party’s interests and when the party files a petition within thirty days.  In this case, the County’s land use decision to deny her amendment to the code and her plat application adversely affected Gillmor.  Gillmor’s applications were to financially benefit her property and as such, the denial adversely affected her interests. Additionally, Gillmor filed her petition within thirty days of the date from which the County rendered its final decision. Since Gillmor was able to meet the jurisdictional requirements of CLUDMA she may raise any and all claims related to the alleged arbitrary, capricious, or illegal nature of the County’s decision. As such, the lower court’s decision to grant summary judgment was reversed and the case was remanded. 

Gillmor v. Summit County, 2010 WL 5294369 (Utah, 12/28/2010) 

The opinion can be accessed at: http://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/supopin/Gillmor2122810.pdf


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