Posted by: Patricia Salkin | July 12, 2017

WY Supreme Court Holds Adjacent Landowners Lacked Standing to Challenge Planning Director’s Interpretation

Appellants Moose Hollow Holdings, LLC and Blue Skies West, LLC owned residential property in rural Teton County. JCFT Wyoming Real Estate, LLC owned two parcels in the same area: one a 53.2- acre parcel, and the other a six-acre parcel. At Appellants’ request, the Teton County planning director issued a formal rule interpretation concerning a 2006 development permit associated with the JCFT property. At JCFT’s request, the planning director issued a zoning compliance verification (ZCV) concerning JCFT’s six-acre parcel. Appellants disagreed with the planning director’s conclusions on both matters and appealed the rule interpretation and ZCV decision to the Teton County Board of County Commissioners. The Board found Appellants lacked standing to appeal either action and that their appeal of the ZCV decision was also untimely. Based on those findings, the Board dismissed Appellants’ appeals. On review, the district court upheld the Board’s dismissal on the same grounds.
As to injuries stemming from the planning director’s decisions, Appellants alleged increased housing density, loss of scenic views, loss of wildlife habitat and migration corridors, and dangerous conditions created by increased traffic on their access road. Even accepting these allegations as true, the court found them insufficient to establish Appellants’ standing. Furthermore, Appellants failed to cite any statute or LDR provision that allowed a right to appeal based on a party’s role in requesting a rule interpretation.
As to ripeness, the court found the planning director’s decisions were preliminary decisions in determining what development might be permitted on the JCFT parcels. Here, there was no approved development permit to review, and the court did not know what conditions might be placed on such a permit. A judicial decision at this stage would therefore be premature and would interrupt the County’s process for evaluating development. Accordingly, the court held that Appellants lacked standing to challenge the Teton County planning director’s rule interpretation and ZCV decision, and neither decision was ripe for judicial review.
Moose Hollow Holdings v Teton County Bd. of County Commrs, 396 P. 3d 1027 (WY 6/21/2017)

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