Court of Appeals to Hear Oral Arguments on the Grove Lawsuit

January 24th 2018 the Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments from both sides – the citizens vs the city in the claim that the process to appeal to the Board of Adjustments on the zoning for The Grove denied the citizens their due process.

For those that don’t know or have listened and believed certain council members (Bill Hopping and Patrick Driscoll most recently) the courts have not decided the matter on whether or not the zoning was correctly applied for The Grove.  The Court never considered that question because the citizens were never able to take the question to the Court.

In order for the citizens to take the “use by right” question to the District Court they had to go to the Board of Adjustment first.  When the appeal was made to the Board of Adjustment Jocelyn Mills intervened and denied the appeal.  It was not her decision to make – the Board of Adjustment should have made considered the matter.  If they had done so then the path to the District Court would have been easy to navigate.  But, because she denied the appeal the citizens could not pursue the matter in District Court.  (A reminder, Ms. Mills is the staff member that signed the building permit for The Grove and denied the appeal to the Board of Adjustment challenging her approval.  This is the crux of the matter in Court – was due process carried out or denied?)

People has asked why continue with the claim.  Speaking for myself, I believe it is important for citizens to have a way to challenge an administrative decision (the approval of The Grove was done administratively and not through a public process).  We need to have a process in place and if the current process is not viable we will need to challenge our city council to provide a mechanism for citizen challenges in the future.  Currently, citizens can challenge any council approved Ordinance by Referendum and we can pass our own Ordinance through an Initiative process.  If we can overturn a council decision shouldn’t we be able to do the same for a decision made by staff?