City of El Paso v. Madero Development, No. 08-89-00322-CV

CourtCourt of Appeals of Texas
Writing for the CourtBefore OSBORN; WOODARD; FULLER; OSBORN
Citation803 S.W.2d 396
PartiesCITY OF EL PASO, Texas, a Municipal Corporation and City Plan Commission, El Paso, Appellants, v. MADERO DEVELOPMENT and Construction Company, Inc., a Texas Corporation, and Chaparral Equity Corporation, a Texas Corporation, Appellees.
Docket NumberNo. 08-89-00322-CV
Decision Date04 January 1991

Page 396

803 S.W.2d 396
CITY OF EL PASO, Texas, a Municipal Corporation and City
Plan Commission, El Paso, Appellants,
v.
MADERO DEVELOPMENT and Construction Company, Inc., a Texas
Corporation, and Chaparral Equity Corporation, a
Texas Corporation, Appellees.
No. 08-89-00322-CV.
Court of Appeals of Texas,
El Paso.
Jan. 4, 1991.
Rehearing Overruled Jan. 30, 1991.

Page 398

Eduardo Miranda, Asst. City Atty., El Paso, Robert H. Freilich, Terry D. Morgan, Freilich, Leitner, Carlisle & Shortlidge, Kansas City, Mo., for appellants.

Alejandro Acosta, Jr., John S. Birkelback, Ginnings, Birkelbach, Keith & Delgado, El Paso, for appellees.

Before OSBORN, C.J., and FULLER and WOODARD, JJ.

OPINION

WOODARD, Justice.

This is an appeal from a $871,200.00, plus interest, judgment against the City and its planning commission based upon inverse condemnation of property by rezoning. The jury established the amount of damages, and the trial court determined a "taking" as a matter of law. We reverse and render.

Point of Error No. One alleges the trial court erred in failing to apply the ripeness doctrine.

In September of 1980, the landowner filed its preliminary plat with the City Plan Commission. Phase One of the plan, consisting of 1.87 acres, received preliminary approval subject to various conditions in July 1981. Phases Two, Three and Four, consisting of thirty-two acres, were approved likewise in December 1982 and February 1984. Phase One was the only plan that received final approval, subject to certain conditions, and this was effected on December 2, 1982. In August of 1985, the landowner was notified by letter that there had been no activity on Phase One of the subdivision since the Plan Commission had approved it, and pursuant to the City's ordinance, "[f]ailure to submit the recording plat within one year from the date of the City Plan Commission approval of the final plat shall terminate all proceedings unless an extension of a specified amount of time is approved by the City Plan Commission." The letter further stated the subdivision file was officially closed.

In January of 1986, the land was rezoned for "Planned Mountain Development (PMD)" which entailed more restrictive use.

A controversy in administrative law is "ripe" for the courts when it has "legally matured" within its province. The ripeness doctrine is to prevent the courts, by avoidance of premature adjudication, from entangling themselves in abstract disagreements over administrative policies, and also to protect the agencies from judicial interference until an administrative decision has been formalized and its effects felt in a

Page 399

concrete way by the challenging parties. Abbott Laboratories v. Gardner, 387 U.S. 136, 87 S.Ct. 1507, 18 L.Ed.2d 681 (1967).

An administrative action must be final before it is judicially reviewable. Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, 473 U.S. 172, 105 S.Ct. 3108, 87 L.Ed.2d 126 (1985). The finality requirement is concerned with whether the initial decision maker has arrived at a definitive position on the issue that inflicts an actual concrete injury. It is not the same as an exhaustion of remedy requirement that generally refers to administrative and judicial procedures by which an injured party may seek review of an adverse decision and obtain a remedy if the decision is found to be unlawful or otherwise inappropriate. Id. "Although '[t]he question of what constitutes a "taking" for the purposes of the Fifth Amendment has proved to be a problem of considerable difficulty,' ... among the factors of particular significance in the inquiry are the economic impact of the challenged action and the extent to which it interferes with reasonable investment-backed expectations." Those factors simply cannot be evaluated until the administrative agency has arrived at a final, definitive position regarding how it will apply the regulations at issue to the particular land in question. Id.

In this case, as in the Williamson case, the record does not disclose that the landowner has applied for variances to the zoning. It, therefore, leaves open the possibility that it could develop the subdivision according to its plat, or if not according to its plat, with some compromise to its plat after obtaining certain variances and that this would give it reasonable beneficial use of its property. The fact that the City notified the landowner that the file was "officially closed" due to inactivity would not obviate this procedure. The "closing of a file," per se, does not indicate a definitive position on the constitutional issue that inflicts an actual, concrete injury, and any problems or prohibitions in relation to the reopening of the file have not been made a part of the issue in this case.

Appellees contend the Appellants waived the "ripeness doctrine" as the Appellants made it their basis for a directed verdict when the Plaintiffs/Appellees rested their case, and then proceeded with their own evidence. Jacobini v. Hall, 719 S.W.2d 396 (Tex.App.--Fort Worth 1986, writ ref'd n.r.e.). The "Motion for Directed Verdict" clearly embodies the "ripeness doctrine" in its underlying grounds and ends with the following paragraph:

Defendants are entitled to an instructed verdict on each of Plaintiffs' claims. The evidence clearly shows that there is no question of fact to submit to a jury, and that the question of whether Defendants' conduct amounts to a taking within the terms of Texas Constitution Article I, Section 17, is a question of law which is premature and cannot yet be submitted to the court.

The motion, in essence, notifies the court that the Plaintiffs have not established the condition precedent to empower the court to proceed with the adjudication of the subject matter. It expressly requests a directed verdict, but inferentially urges abatement or dismissal for want of jurisdiction. A principal purpose of a pleading is to inform the court and the opposing party of the facts relied on and of the pleader's claims. It is to be "considered for all that it means instead of what it is called." Gratehouse v. Gratehouse, 417 S.W.2d 592 (Tex.Civ.App.--Waco 1967, no writ); Tex.R.Civ.P. 71. Generally, there are three jurisdictional elements: (1) jurisdiction over the subject matter; (2) jurisdiction over the person or res; and (3) power to render the particular relief awarded. Mobil Oil Corporation v. Matagorda County Drainage...

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40 practice notes
  • Mayhew v. Town of Sunnyvale, No. 95-0771
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • May 8, 1998
    ...of constitutional challenges to land use regulation. We are aware of only one published Texas decision, City of El Paso v. Madero Dev., 803 S.W.2d 396, 400 (Tex.App.--El Paso 1991, writ denied), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 1073, 112 S.Ct. 970, 117 L.Ed.2d 135 (1992), in which the ripeness of reg......
  • Toigo v. Town of Ross, No. A078486
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • October 30, 1998
    ...and full Council would respond to a new development request." (Accord, City of El Paso v. Madero Development (Tex.App.-El Paso 1991) 803 S.W.2d 396, Accordingly, in considering the facts before us, we agree with the trial court's conclusion that the undisputed material facts show Toigo has ......
  • Fain v. State, No. 03-95-00427-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • December 17, 1998
    ...Bk. Of Commerce, 649 S.W.2d 769, 771-72 (Tex.App.--San Antonio 1983, no writ); see also City of El Paso v. Madero Development, 803 S.W.2d 396, 399 (Tex.App.--El Paso 1991, writ denied), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 1073, 112 S.Ct. 970, 117 L.Ed.2d 135 (1992) (there are three jurisdictional elemen......
  • Town of Sunnyvale v. Mayhew, No. 05-92-01401-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • May 10, 1994
    ...510 U.S. 914, 114 S.Ct. 304, 126 L.Ed.2d 252 (1993). Texas courts also apply the ripeness doctrine. See City of El Paso v. Madero Dev., 803 S.W.2d 396, 400 (Tex.App.--El Paso 1991, writ denied), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 1073, 112 S.Ct. 970, 117 L.Ed.2d 135 (1992). The primary issue the ripene......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
40 cases
  • Mayhew v. Town of Sunnyvale, No. 95-0771
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • May 8, 1998
    ...of constitutional challenges to land use regulation. We are aware of only one published Texas decision, City of El Paso v. Madero Dev., 803 S.W.2d 396, 400 (Tex.App.--El Paso 1991, writ denied), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 1073, 112 S.Ct. 970, 117 L.Ed.2d 135 (1992), in which the ripeness of reg......
  • Toigo v. Town of Ross, No. A078486
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • October 30, 1998
    ...and full Council would respond to a new development request." (Accord, City of El Paso v. Madero Development (Tex.App.-El Paso 1991) 803 S.W.2d 396, Accordingly, in considering the facts before us, we agree with the trial court's conclusion that the undisputed material facts show Toigo has ......
  • Fain v. State, No. 03-95-00427-CR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • December 17, 1998
    ...Bk. Of Commerce, 649 S.W.2d 769, 771-72 (Tex.App.--San Antonio 1983, no writ); see also City of El Paso v. Madero Development, 803 S.W.2d 396, 399 (Tex.App.--El Paso 1991, writ denied), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 1073, 112 S.Ct. 970, 117 L.Ed.2d 135 (1992) (there are three jurisdictional elemen......
  • Town of Sunnyvale v. Mayhew, No. 05-92-01401-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • May 10, 1994
    ...510 U.S. 914, 114 S.Ct. 304, 126 L.Ed.2d 252 (1993). Texas courts also apply the ripeness doctrine. See City of El Paso v. Madero Dev., 803 S.W.2d 396, 400 (Tex.App.--El Paso 1991, writ denied), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 1073, 112 S.Ct. 970, 117 L.Ed.2d 135 (1992). The primary issue the ripene......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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