Monday, January 6, 2014

Van Sicklen v. Browne case brief

Van Sicklen v. Browne case brief summary
92 Cal. Rptr. 786 (1971)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Petitioner landowners appealed a judgment from the Superior Court, Santa Clara County (California) that denied their petition for a writ of mandate to review an order from respondent city council members affirming denial of their application for a permit to build a service station on their lot because the service station did not conform to the city's master plan, although the lot met the requirements of a local zoning ordinance.

CASE FACTS
A city planning commission denied the application of petitioners, landowners, for a permit to build a service station on their lot, which met the zoning requirements of Militas, Cal., Zoning Ordinance § 8.90, because it did not conform to the city's master plan, which was adopted under Cal. Gov't. Code § 65300. Respondents, the city council, affirmed the denial, and the trial court denied petitioner's petition for a writ of mandate.

DISCUSSION

  • On appeal, the court held that because Militas, Cal. Zoning Ordinance §§ 1.02 and 17.01 permitted service stations if their location conformed to the objectives of the master plan, the planning commission had discretion to deny the application. 
  • Because intensity of land use was a valid municipal concern related to a city's health and safety factors and was a permissible subject for zoning under Cal. Gov't. Code § 65850(c), the planning commission properly denied petitioner's application where four other service stations were located within a short distance of petitioner's lot. 
  • The court held that the indirect impact of the ordinance on competition did not invalidate it. 
  • Therefore, the court affirmed the judgment.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the judgment denying petitioner landowners a writ of mandate to review the order of respondent city council affirming the denial of their application to build a service station on their lot that met the zoning requirements. The court held that the zoning ordinance expressly gave the planning commission permission to deny the permit because the location of petitioner's lot did not conform to the master plan for service stations.

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