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zia shadows mobile home park

MARTHA VAZQUEZ, District Judge

Accordingly, as the City had broad discretion in approving Plaintiffs PUD, Plaintiffs cannot establish that they had a “legitimate expectation” that their development proposal would be approved. Defendants are thus entitled to summary judgment as to Plaintiffs procedural and substantive due process claims.
Both procedural and substantive due process claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 require Plaintiffs to establish that Defendants’ actions deprived them of a protectible property interest. Nichols v. Bd. of Cnty. Comm’rs, 506 F.3d 962, 969 (10th Cir. 2007). The Supreme Court has offered the following guidance to aid courts in determining whether a plaintiff has a protectible property interest:

Plaintiffs argue that Defendant unduly delayed Plaintiffs’ PUD application at least in part out of retaliation against Plaintiffs for their speech at public City Council meetings. Defendants argue that Plaintiffs’ claim fails because “any action related to the PUD application does not affect their ability to exercise their First Amendment right[s.]” Doc. 45 at 11.
Sometime following the January 3, 2005 City Council meeting, Plaintiff Alex Garth sent City Manager Terrance Moore an undated letter. Doc. 9, Ex. 7. He described the issues delaying the project as “the Elks Drive expansion” and a “water rights payment issue.” Id. at 1. Mr. Garth argued that the development of Elks Drive was the City’s financial responsibility, and further argued that at the time they purchased the property, Plaintiffs were not afforded legally adequate notice of the claim to water rights that had since become an issue. He also mentioned the bankruptcy filing and detailed the ways in which Plaintiffs had amended their development plan so as to respond to prospective home buyers’ difficulty obtaining financing and provide affordable housing to the community of Las Cruces. See id. at 2-4. Mr. Garth requested that Mr. Moore reconsider and approve Plaintiffs’ amended plan.
The Tenth Circuit has described the “paradigmatic class-of-one case” as one in which “a public official inflicts a cost or burden on one person without imposing it on those who are similarly situated in material respects, and does so without any conceivable basis other than a wholly illegitimate motive.” Jicarilla Apache Nation v. Rio Arriba Cnty., 440 F.3d 1202, 1209 (10th Cir. 2006). Courts should apply this theory cautiously, id., and the element of different treatment from similarly situated persons is all the more imperative in class-of-one cases. Jennings v. City of Stillwater, 383 F.3d 1199, 1213-14 (10th Cir. 2004). In Jennings, the Tenth Circuit explained:

Traditional equal protection law deals with groups unified by the characteristic alleged to be the root of the discrimination. . . . Looking only at one individual, however, there is no way to know whether the difference in treatment was occasioned by legitimate or illegitimate considerations without a comprehensive and largely subjective canvassing of all possible relevant factors. It is therefore imperative for the class-of-one plaintiff to provide a specific and detailed account of the nature of the preferred treatment of the favored class.

THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. 44]. The Court, having considered Defendants’ Motion and corresponding Memorandum in Support [Docs. 45 46], Plaintiff’s Memorandum in Opposition [Doc. 52], Defendants’ Response in Support [Doc. 53], the relevant law, and being otherwise fully informed, finds that Defendants’ Motion will be GRANTED in part and DENIED in part for the reasons stated herein.

Finally, Plaintiffs cite Smith v. Bernalillo County, 110 P.3d 496, 504 (N.M. 2005), for the proposition that landowners “have a right to use their property as they see fit, within the law, unless restricted by regulations that are clear, fair, and apply equally to all” and that “[a]d hoc, standard-less regulation that depends on no more than a zoning official’s discretion would seriously erode basic freedoms that inure to every property owner.” Smith, however, is also readily distinguished as it involved an appeal of a decision to deny a certain use of property (after the County in question had earlier granted the landowner’s request) where the zoning law gave the County no discretion to deny the request. Here, by contrast, Plaintiffs were not seeking to use their property in accordance with the then-applicable zoning, but were seeking a zoning variance, which is explicitly subject to the discretion of the City.

Read ZIA SHADOWS, LLC v. CITY OF LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO, No. 09-CV-0909 MV/WPL, see flags on bad law, and search Casetext’s comprehensive legal database