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TTC Properties, Inc. v. Parish of Jefferson

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

December 27, 2017

TTC PROPERTIES, INC.
v.
PARISH OF JEFFERSON

         ON APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 734-521, DIVISION "A" HONORABLE RAYMOND S. STEIB, JR., JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, TTC PROPERTIES, INC. David J. Halpern Jill A. Gautreaux Tod J. Everage

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, PARISH OF JEFFERSON Kenneth B. Krobert Bessie L. Renfrow

          Panel composed of Judges Susan M. Chehardy, Fredericka Homberg Wicker, and Robert A. Chaisson.

          ROBERT A. CHAISSON JUDGE

         TTC Properties, Inc. ("TTC") appeals a January 31, 2017 judgment of the trial court affirming the Jefferson Parish Council's motions to deny TTC's applications to rezone its properties and denying TTC's Petition for Writ of Certiorari of the Decision of Jefferson Parish Council Concerning Rezoning Application. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On July 7, 2017, TTC filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari of Decision of Jefferson Parish Council Concerning Rezoning Application. At issue are the following three parcels of immovable property owned by TTC located in the Woodmere Subdivision of Jefferson Parish:

• Lot 47, Square A, Woodmere Subdivision; bearing municipal address 2616 Destrehan Avenue, Harvey, Louisiana;
• Lot 3, Square A, Woodmere Subdivision; bearing municipal address 3709 Long Leaf Lane, Harvey, Louisiana; and
• Lot 5, Square A, Woodmere Subdivision; bearing municipal address 3717 Long Leaf Lane, Harvey, Louisiana.

         TTC purchased the properties at 3709 and 3717 Long Leaf Lane on September 26, 1991. At that time, both of those parcels, and the property at 2616 Destrehan Avenue, were zoned R-3, a classification which permitted four-family residential structures like the ones existing on all three parcels. Following a 1994 Parish Planning Department study for the purpose of formulating a master plan to ensure more compatible land uses with existing single family development, the Parish rezoned the entire neighborhood (including all three of TTC's parcels) to R-1 A, which resulted in legally non-conforming uses for the four-plex structures located on all three parcels. On April 23, 2003, TTC purchased the property at 2616 Destrehan Avenue. Sometime around 2006, the four-plexes became vacant and remained vacant long enough for the termination of their legally non-conforming uses pursuant to the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance.[1]

         On September 25, 2013, TTC filed applications for zoning changes for all three properties with the Jefferson Parish Planning Department in order to change the zoning classification for the properties from single-family residential R-1A to multifamily residential R-3, which was necessary in order to effect repairs to the damaged structures. After concluding that there had been no substantial change in the area since the 1994 area study that would support rezoning to R-3 Multi-Family Residential or a future land use change to High Density Residential, the Planning Department recommended to the Parish Council that the applications for rezoning be denied. Public hearings on the rezoning applications were held before the Planning Advisory Board ("PAB"), during which the property owner spoke in favor of his rezoning applications. The PAB recommended that all three applications be denied. On December 11, 2013, the Parish Council voted unanimously to deny TTC's applications for rezoning of the three properties.

         TTC sought judicial review of the Parish Council's decisions to deny its rezoning applications by filing a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the 24th Judicial District Court, wherein it argued that the Parish Council had acted arbitrarily and capriciously in denying TTC's applications for rezoning because similar applications in the neighborhood had been granted. TTC further argued that the Parish Council's actions were in retaliation for TTC having prevailed in other judicial proceedings concerning the property at 2616 Destrehan Avenue.[2]

         On November 2, 2016, the matter was heard in a one-day bench trial. After taking the matter under advisement, on January 31, 2017, the trial court issued judgment affirming the Parish Council's motions to deny TTC's applications to rezone its properties and denying TTC's Petition for Writ of Certiorari of the Parish Council's Decision. In its reasons for judgment, the trial court found that the Parish Council did ...


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