Ranger Abbott (Abbott) purchased a 7.77–acre tract of land in Paris, Texas, and sought permission to expand his already existing mobile home park into a mobile home park that utilized the full property. Abbott was informed by the City’s Planning and Zoning department that he would not be able to expand the mobile home park, as doing so would change the zoning designation from commercial use to a single family area. Abbott then filed suit against the city for the denial of his request, but the court dismissed the suit based on the fact that Abbott failed to file a rezoning request, and therefore failed to exhaust all available administrative remedies prior to bringing the lawsuit. Abbott then filed a second lawsuit which claimed that his effort to resolve the expansion issue was arbitrarily rejected, as he fully pursued all administrative remedies available with the City, he made a claim for inverse condemnation, and alleged that the City violated his procedural and substantive due process rights as well as Equal Protection.
The appeals court held that Abbot’s taking claims were not ripe because he did not attempt to have his property rezoned, and the zoning board did not have the authority to grant Abbott’s request for an extension or continuation of the property, or an enlargement of the existing, nonconforming use. The court further ruled that it was Abbott’s responsibility, not the City’s, to determine all available administrative remedies and that the City advised Abbott on numerous occasions that a zoning change request was the appropriate course of action. With respect to Abbott’s due process and equal protection claim, the court ruled that Abbott failed to raise his due process claim in his first appeal thereby barring him from raising the due process claims in further appeals, and the equal protection claim was raised in the previous case, thereby barring the court from reconsidering that claim.
Ranger Abbott v City of Paris, TX, 429 SW 3d 99 (3/14/2014)
The opinion can be accessed at: http://law.justia.com/cases/texas/sixth-court-of-appeals/2014/06-13-00092-cv.html