Posted by: Patricia Salkin | August 11, 2016

5th Circuit Court of Appeals Finds Suit Alleging City’s Rezoning Ordinance Constituted Impermissible Spot Zoning was Moot

Crosspoint, Inc. operated correctional and rehabilitative facilities, and intended to use the property at issue as short-term housing for parolees as they transitioned from prison to release. In 2009, the City of San Antonio rezoned a parcel of land for use as a halfway house for parolees. Affected homeowners formed Plaintiff Unincorporated Non-Profit Association of Concerned Eastside Citizens and Property Owners (the “Citizens Association”), and filed suit alleging the City’s rezoning ordinance constituted impermissible spot zoning. In 2011, the City passed a new ordinance relaxing citywide zoning requirements for halfway houses. The district court held that the change mooted the plaintiff’s claim, and granted Crosspoint’s motion to intervene.

On appeal, the Citizens Association contended the district court erroneously held the 2009 Ordinance severable and consequently the spot-zoning claim moot. The court found that Chapter 35 of the San Antonio City Code, labeled the “Unified Development Code”, and appeared to contain all city zoning ordinances, including the 2009 Ordinance. Additionally, Chapter 35 included its own severability provision that also seems to apply to the 2009 Ordinance.

However, even assuming the 2009 Ordinance’s rezoning portion needed to be stricken, court found that the subject property would still hold the requisite Specific Use Authorization. Furthermore, with the 2011 Ordinance, Crosspoint would still be able to operate its transitional home even if the Property reverted back to an MF-33 base zoning designation. Accordingly, the court held Citizens Association’s spot-zoning claim was moot, and therefore did not consider whether the district court erroneously granted Crosspoint’s motion to intervene.

Unincorporated Non-Profit Assoc. of Concerned Eastside Citizens and Property Owners v San Antonio, 2016 WL 4254379 (5th Cir. CA 8/11/2016)

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