Posted by: Patricia Salkin | June 4, 2018

LA App. Court Holds Denial of Rezoning Applications Did Not Create Impermissible Reverse Spot Zoning

This post was authored by Matthew Loeser, Esq.

TTC Properties, Inc. (“TTC”) filed applications for zoning changes for its three properties with the Jefferson Parish Planning Department in order to change the zoning classification for the properties from single-family residential R–1A to multifamily residential R–3, which was necessary in order to effect repairs to the damaged structures. After concluding that there had been no substantial change in the area since the 1994 area study that would support rezoning to R–3 Multi– Family Residential or a future land use change to High Density Residential, the Planning Department recommended to the Parish Council that the applications for rezoning be denied. TTC then sought judicial review of the Parish Council’s decisions to deny its rezoning applications by filing a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in District Court. In this case, TTC appealed the judgment of the trial court affirming the Jefferson Parish Council’s motions to deny TTC’s applications to rezone its properties and denying TTC’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari of the Decision of Jefferson Parish Council Concerning Rezoning Application.

On appeal, the court first addressed TTC’s third assignment of error, which was that the denial of the rezoning applications created impermissible “reverse spot zoning” for its three parcels. The record reflected that the Woodmere neighborhood where the parcels were located had been zoned R–1A since 1994, and that the parcels themselves were currently zoned R–1A. Thus, the court found the Parish Council’s decision to deny the requests to rezone the parcels from R–1A to R3 was not “reverse spot zoning.”

TTC next contended that the Parish Council acted arbitrarily and capriciously because it had approved four similar applications to rezone four units in the same neighborhood from R–1A single family to R3 multifamily. Dr. Teresa Wilkinson, the Planning Director for Jefferson Parish, testified as to the technical basis for the recommended denials, including the difference in density between R1–A and R–3, as well as lot area per family and the viability of single-family homes in the area. Wilkinson further testified that there was no technical difference between the prior four applications and TTC’s applications. Moreover, while the court acknowledged that there was little evidence in the record of the Parish Council’s reasoning behind denying TTC’s applications, the evidence presented demonstrated that it received the recommendations of both the Planning Department and the PAB that TTC’s applications be denied. As such, the court affirmed the judgment of the trial court, holding that the Parish Council’s decisions to deny TTC’s applications for rezoning of these three properties were not arbitrary and capricious.

TTC Properties v Parish of Jefferson, 237 So. 3d 623 (LA App. 12/27/2017)

 


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