Articles Posted in Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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To obtain an area variance, an applicant must show that strictly applying a zoning ordinance will cause “peculiar and exceptional practical difficulties” that deprive a property of privileges enjoyed by other similarly zoned properties. This dispute arose from the City of Phoenix Board of Adjustment’s grant of a variance on a parcel of land in Phoenix. The superior court upheld the variance, finding that the variance was an area variance and not a use variance, that the Board was authorized to consider area variances, and that sufficient evidence supported the Board’s decision. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the Board did not act within its authority in granting the variance. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals’ opinion and affirmed the judgment of the superior court, holding (1) the Board acted within its discretion in finding that special circumstances applied to the property; (2) the property owner did not create the special circumstances; (3) the variance required was an area variance that was necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of substantial property rights; and (4) the variance would not be materially detrimental to the surrounding area. View "Pawn 1st, LLC v. City of Phoenix" on Justia Law

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In this lawsuit, one of several suits alleging construction defects in homes located in a Shea Homes planned community, plaintiffs Albert Albano and other homeowners appealed to the circuit court from the district court's summary judgment dismissing their construction-defect claims against Shea Homes as barred by Arizona's statute of repose. The plaintiffs were three homeowners not allowed to join a previous putative class action against Shea Homes. On appeal, plaintiffs contended that the district court erred in failing to apply American Pipe v. Utah, which tolls the applicable statute of limitations for non-named class members until class certification is denied, to the period between the filing of the previous putative class action lawsuit and the denial of class certification. The Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction to answer the certified question of whether the American Pipe tolling rule would also apply to a statute of repose. The Court held that the class-action tolling doctrine does not apply to statutes of repose, and more specifically, to the statute of repose for construction defects. View "Albano v. Shea Homes Ltd." on Justia Law