218 P.3d 847 (Nev. 2009), 45906, Citizens for Cold Springs v. City of Reno

Docket Nº:45906.
Citation:218 P.3d 847
Opinion Judge:SAITTA, J.
Party Name:CITIZENS FOR COLD SPRINGS, Joan Liscom and Raymond Liscom, Appellants, v. CITY OF RENO; Lifestyle Homes TND LLC; Woodland Village Homes; Woodland Village North LLC; H & N Properties LLC; Josephine Sweeney Trust; Wallach IX LLC; Dennis Charley; Joe E. Gardner Family Trust; Christine Terelak; Zygmunt Terelak; Caroline Kurnik; Frank Kurnik; Mike Mulle
Attorney:John L. Marshall, Reno, for Appellants. John J. Kadlic, City Attorney, and Marilyn D. Craig, Deputy City Attorney, Reno, for Respondent City of Reno. Gunderson Law Firm and Mark H. Gunderson and Elaine S. Guenaga, Reno, for Respondents Lifestyle Homes TND, Woodland Village Homes, Woodland Village...
Judge Panel:We concur: HARDESTY, C.J., PARRAGUIRRE, DOUGLAS, CHERRY and GIBBONS, JJ.
Case Date:October 15, 2009
Court:Supreme Court of Nevada
 
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Page 847

218 P.3d 847 (Nev. 2009)

CITIZENS FOR COLD SPRINGS, Joan Liscom and Raymond Liscom, Appellants,

v.

CITY OF RENO; Lifestyle Homes TND LLC; Woodland Village Homes; Woodland Village North LLC; H & N Properties LLC; Josephine Sweeney Trust; Wallach IX LLC; Dennis Charley; Joe E. Gardner Family Trust; Christine Terelak; Zygmunt Terelak; Caroline Kurnik; Frank Kurnik; Mike Mullen; and Irene Mullen, Respondents.

No. 45906.

Supreme Court of Nevada.

October 15, 2009

Page 848

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 849

John L. Marshall, Reno, for Appellants.

John J. Kadlic, City Attorney, and Marilyn D. Craig, Deputy City Attorney, Reno, for Respondent City of Reno.

Gunderson Law Firm and Mark H. Gunderson and Elaine S. Guenaga, Reno, for Respondents Lifestyle Homes TND, Woodland Village Homes, Woodland Village North, H & N Properties, Josephine Sweeney Trust, Wallach IX, Dennis Charley, Joe E. Gardner Family Trust, Christine Terelak, Zygmunt Terelak, Caroline Kurnik, Frank Kurnik, Mike Mullen, and Irene Mullen.

Before the Court En Banc.1

OPINION

SAITTA, J.

In this appeal, we examine whether citizens have standing to challenge a land annexation if they do not own the property subject to annexation. Consistent with our prior holdings granting citizens the right to challenge land-use decisions and the language of NRS 268.668, we conclude that citizens may challenge an annexation even if the annexation does not include their property. In this, we expand our ruling in Hantges v. City of Henderson, 121 Nev. 319, 113 P.3d 848 (2005), to grant citizens standing to challenge land annexations. Our extension of Hantges is rooted in the plain language of NRS 268.668, which confers the right to seek judicial review to " any person" claiming to be adversely affected by an annexation.2 We further use this opportunity to clarify the meaning of adverse effect in the context of NRS 268.668.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Respondents, owners of the subject land (collectively, Lifestyle), initiated a voluntary annexation by requesting that the other respondent in this appeal, the City of Reno (the City), annex approximately 7,000 acres of land in the Cold Springs Valley and adjacent areas. On March 9, 2005, the City held a hearing regarding the annexation. Some property owners and residents of Cold Springs (collectively, Cold Springs), an area that borders the subject land, were at the hearing to oppose the annexation. The city council voted to approve the annexation petition on a 4-3 vote, thereby formally adopting Ordinance 5667 and annexing approximately 7,000 acres of undeveloped land lying primarily in Cold Springs Valley.

On April 1, 2005, Cold Springs filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief along with a petition for writ of mandamus, seeking review of, and reversal of, the annexation. Cold Springs challenged the annexation, claiming it would have an adverse effect on its rural community. The City and Lifestyle moved to dismiss Cold Springs' case for failure to state a claim. The district court granted the City's and Lifestyle's motions, finding that all of Cold Springs' claims were speculative. The district court determined that Cold Springs lacked standing to sue because it had not shown that it had personally, substantially, and adversely been affected by the annexation. It further noted that " [e]very allegation made in the Complaint is based on some possible future damage that might occur on some future date and not a substantial and adverse damage

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that currently and particularly affects [Cold Springs] differently than the general public." This appeal followed.

DISCUSSION

The standard of review for dismissal for failure to state a claim is rigorous, as this court construes the pleading liberally, drawing every inference in favor of the nonmoving party. Buzz Stew, LLC v. City of N. Las Vegas, 124 Nev. __, __, 181 P.3d 670, 672 (2008); Simpson v. Mars Inc., 113 Nev. 188, 190, 929 P.2d 966, 967 (1997). " All factual allegations of the complaint must be accepted as true." Simpson, 113 Nev. at 190, 929 P.2d at 967. We review questions of law and statutory construction de novo. Buzz Stew, 124 Nev. at __, 181 P.3d at 672; Leven v. Frey, 123 Nev. 399, 402, 168 P.3d 712, 714 (2007).

Cold Springs argues that it has standing to challenge the annexation pursuant to NRS 268.668 and Hantges. We agree.

Our holding in this matter is concerned exclusively with citizen standing as to annexation decisions. The district court granted the City's motion to dismiss based on its determination that Cold Springs lacked standing. In reaching its decision, the district court found that Cold Springs' complaint contained merely speculative allegations. Because it found that Cold Springs had no standing, the...

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