Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Kootenai County. Honorable Charles W. Hosack; Honorable Benjamin Simpson, District Judges. The summary judgment order in favor of Respondents is affirmed.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Jones, Justice.
This is an appeal from an order of summary judgment granted in favor of Respondents regarding the authority of the Kootenai County Board of County Commissioners to rezone two parcels of property based on a single rezone application. We affirm.
I.Factual and Procedural Background
Coeur d'Alene Paving, Inc. ("CDA Paving") leases several parcels of real property in Kootenai County from Beacon West, LLC ("Beacon"). Approximately thirty acres of this leased property is zoned for mining activity, and is currently used by CDA Paving for rock crushing and open pit mining (the "Open Pit Lots"). CDA Paving has an interest in two undeveloped ten-acre parcels owned by Beacon that are located directly south of the Open Pit Lots. These lots were initially zoned for agricultural activity (the "Agricultural Lots"). The Open Pit Lots and the Agricultural Lots are contiguous parcels. The Open Pit Lots are the northernmost lots and border Highway 53. CDA Paving also has an interest in two additional ten-acre lots owned by Beacon that are located to the southwest of the Agricultural Lots. These lots are undeveloped and were initially zoned for mining activity (the "Mining Lots"). To the north of the Mining Lots and to the west of the Agricultural Lots is a large parcel owned by Interstate Concrete and Asphalt that is also zoned for mining activity. The mining resources of the Interstate Concrete parcels are alleged to have been depleted and the mining activity thereon has ceased. Both the Mining Lots and the Agricultural Lots are identified as Rural Residential land*fn1 in the County's Comprehensive Plan.
On January 16, 2008, CDA Paving submitted a single rezone application to the Kootenai County Building and Planning Department identified as Case No. ZON08-0001. This application sought to change the zoning of the Agricultural Lots to mining and to change the zoning of the Mining Lots to agriculture. In the application, CDA Paving states that the zone request would be beneficial to the public and in accordance with the comprehensive plan because it would create a contiguous mining zone between the Open Pit Lots and the Agricultural Lots, rather than splitting the mining activity from the existing Open Pit Lots to the nonadjacent Mining Lots. By creating one contiguous parcel, CDA Paving argues that fewer residential neighbors are affected by the concurrent zoning change, and that there will be less traffic and dust disturbance because mining activity on the Agricultural Lots would have direct access to Highway 53 through the Open Pit Lots.
After a hearing before a Kootenai County hearing examiner on March 6, 2008, the hearing examiner recommended that the application be denied. Subsequently, the Kootenai County Board of County Commissioners (the "BOCC") held a public hearing on the matter on May 8, 2008, wherein a majority of the commissioners voted in favor of the application, but required an additional hearing because the decision was substantially different from the recommendation of the hearing examiner. A second public hearing was held on June 26, 2008. The BOCC deliberated over the application on July 10, 2008, and voted 2 to 1 in favor of its approval. The BOCC issued its Order of Decision approving the application on August 7, 2008. That same day, the BOCC approved Ordinance No. 417, amending the zoning map of Kootenai County to (1) reflect the zoning changes of the Agricultural Lots to a mining zone and the Mining Lots to an agricultural zone, and (2) repeal all conflicting zoning map provisions.
The following month, several property owners located in the vicinity of the zone changes, including Linda Ciszek, ("Appellants") filed a declaratory judgment action in district court alleging the zone change was invalid.*fn2 Ciszek owns two contiguous parcels on Knudsen Road. The west side of Ciszek's property adjoins the east boundary of the Open Pit Lots and the southwest corner of her property touches the northeast corner of the Agricultural Lots.
The parties filed and argued cross-motions for summary judgment. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Respondents, dismissing the complaint. After determining that the zoning decision in this case was a legislative act, the district court determined the BOCC's approval of two zoning changes pursuant to a single application was not arbitrary and capricious. Specifically, the court ruled that the BOCC had the authority to amend its zoning map and that the decision, by keeping the mining activity in a contiguous zone, negatively impacted fewer landowners than would have been affected had CDA Paving initiated mining activity on the Mining Lots.
On appeal to this Court, Appellants argue that the BOCC does not have the authority to approve a "swap zone" change in a single application and that such a procedure denied them their due process rights. They also argue that the zoning decision was not legislative but, rather, quasi-judicial in nature and not entitled to the deference afforded by the district court. Additionally, they argue that combining the two zoning decisions amounts to an illegal contract to zone and that the zoning "contract" impermissibly limited the legislative authority of the BOCC. Respondents argue that Appellants have failed to identify a particularized injury as a result of this zoning change and that they lack standing to bring this action. Additionally, Respondents assert that the zoning decision was appropriately characterized as a legislative act and that the BOCC was within its authority to consider and approve two zoning changes in a single application. To this end, they argue the decision complied with the statutory requirements for a zoning amendment, as well as the requirements imposed by Kootenai County Zoning Ordinance 9-21-3. Finally, Respondents argue that the decision of the BOCC was not a contract to zone because the county complied with the notice and hearing procedures required by statute and made no agreement to approve the application separate and apart from these proceedings. Both parties ask for attorney fees on appeal pursuant to I.C. § 12-117, and Beacon and the BOCC also request fees under I.C. § 12-121.
I. Whether Appellants have standing to bring this declaratory judgment action?
II. Whether the BOCC has the authority to rezone two parcels based on a single zoning application?
III. Whether the consideration and approval of two zoning changes pursuant to a single notice and hearing procedure violated Appellants' due process rights?
IV. Whether the zoning approval amounted to an illegal contract to zone and whether the BOCC's decision impermissibly limited its legislative discretion?
V. Whether any of the parties are entitled to attorney fees on appeal?
This Court reviews a district court's ruling on a motion for summary judgment pursuant to the same standard as the district court. Cherry v. Coregis Ins. Co., 146 Idaho 882, 884, 204 P.3d 522, 524 (2009). Summary judgment should be granted where the "pleadings, depositions, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
I.R.C.P. 56(c). "Disputed facts should be construed in favor of the non-moving party, and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from the record are to be drawn in favor of the non- moving party." Castorena v. General Elec., 149 Idaho 609, 613, 238 P.3d 209, 213 (2010). "The fact that the parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment does not change the applicable standard of review, and this Court must evaluate each party's motion on its own merits." Borley v. Smith, 149 Idaho 171, 176, 2 ...