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Re: Annexation To the City of v. City of Shelley

June 2, 2011

RE: ANNEXATION TO THE CITY OF SHELLEY. ROGER STEELE, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
CITY OF SHELLEY, RESPONDENT.



Appeal from the District Court of the Seventh Judicial District, State of Idaho, Bingham County. Hon. Darren B. Simpson, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Burdick, Justice

2011 Opinion No. 70

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

Roger Steele, et al., ("Appellants") appeal the district court's dismissal of their petition for judicial review of the City of Shelley's ("Shelley") annexation of land in Bingham County commonly known as "Kelley Acres." The district court dismissed the petition, finding that there was no statutory authorization for judicial review of Shelley's category A annexation. Appellants, who are residents of the annexed land, challenge the decision on the ground that Shelley improperly classified the annexation as a category A annexation, Shelley was arbitrary and capricious in annexing the land and the annexation was procedurally defective. First, we hold that there is no statutory authorization for judicial review of a category A annexation. Second, we hold that a court may always make factual inquiry as to its jurisdictional parameters, but upon review, we find substantial evidence supports Shelley's determination that this was a category A annexation. Therefore, we affirm.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On September 17, 2008, Shelley submitted an application to annex and rezone the Kelley Acres subdivision in Bingham County. Shelley's planning and zoning commission held a public hearing on October 15, 2008, to consider rezoning Kelley Acres, upon its annexation, from County Residential Agricultural to City Residential Agricultural. The commission unanimously recommended to the city council that Kelley Acres be annexed and rezoned.

On November 25, 2008, Shelley conducted a hearing to consider the annexation and rezoning. Twenty-nine property-owning residents of Kelley Acres signed and submitted a statement declaring their opposition and indicating their non-consent to the annexation. After hearing from some landowners, all of whom opposed the annexation, the city council unanimously approved the annexation and rezoning. On December 10, 2008, the city council passed an ordinance annexing and rezoning Kelley Acres, and Shelley published the ordinance in The Shelley Pioneer newspaper on December 17, 2008.

Appellants filed a petition for judicial review of Shelley's annexation in Bingham County district court on December 10, 2008, contending that Shelley failed to give proper notice to all concerned citizens, Shelley failed to properly categorize the annexation and the annexation was unreasonable. On January 29, 2009, Shelley filed a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, pursuant to I.R.C.P. 12(b)(1), and for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, pursuant to I.R.C.P. 12(b)(6). On April 2, 2009, the district court issued an order dismissing the petition for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under I.R.C.P. 12(b)(1), finding no statutory authority for judicial review of a city's category A annexation or of a city's decision to classify an annexation as a category A annexation. Appellants submitted a notice of appeal on April 27, 2009.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

As this Court wrote in Gibson v. Ada County:

In reviewing the district court's order granting the motion to dismiss, the standard of review is the same as that used in summary judgment. The standard of review on appeal from an order granting summary judgment is the same standard that is used by the district court in ruling on the motion. Summary judgment is appropriate only when the pleadings, depositions, affidavits and admissions on file show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

This Court has free review over the construction of a statute, which includes whether a statute provides for judicial review, and the standard of review to be applied if judicial review is available. 142 Idaho 746, 751, 133 P.3d 1211, 1216 (2006) (internal quotations and citations omitted).

III. DISCUSSION

Idaho Code § 50-222*fn1 divides annexations into three categories: A, B, and C. Different criteria and procedural requirements for each category of annexation are set forth in I.C. ยงยง 50- 222(3) and (5). The parties agree that Shelley classified the annexation in this case as a category A annexation. Appellants argue that Shelley's annexation is not appropriately classified as a category A annexation. Rather, they argue, the annexation is a category B annexation, and category B annexations are expressly ...


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