City of Ririe v. Gilgen, Docket No. 48558

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Idaho
Writing for the CourtBEVAN, Chief Justice.
Citation515 P.3d 255
Parties CITY OF RIRIE, Petitioner-Respondent on Appeal-Cross Appellant, v. Tina GILGEN, an individual, Respondent-Appellant-Cross Respondent, and County of Jefferson, by and through the Jefferson County Commissioners, Scott Hancock, chair, Respondent.
Docket NumberDocket No. 48558
Decision Date09 August 2022

515 P.3d 255

CITY OF RIRIE, Petitioner-Respondent on Appeal-Cross Appellant,
v.
Tina GILGEN, an individual, Respondent-Appellant-Cross Respondent,
and
County of Jefferson, by and through the Jefferson County Commissioners, Scott Hancock, chair, Respondent.

Docket No. 48558

Supreme Court of Idaho, Boise, February 2022 Term.

Opinion Filed: August 9, 2022


Manwaring Law Office, P.A., Idaho Falls, attorney for Appellant. Kipp Manwaring argued.

Dunn Law Offices, LLC, Rigby, attorney for Respondent. Robin Dunn argued.

BEVAN, Chief Justice.

The primary question in this appeal is whether a city has standing to petition the

515 P.3d 258

district court for judicial review of a county decision granting a land use permit within the city's area of impact. The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners ("the County") granted Appellant Tina Gilgen a conditional use permit that allowed her to place a mobile home on real property she owned with her husband, Kelly Gilgen, in Jefferson County. The Gilgen property fell within the City of Ririe's area of impact ("AOI"). The City of Ririe ("the City") petitioned for judicial review, asserting that the County erroneously approved Gilgen's application by applying Jefferson County zoning ordinances within the AOI instead of City ordinances, which would have resulted in a denial of Gilgen's application. The City relied on an area of impact agreement between Jefferson County and the City of Ririe, in which the County specifically agreed to apply the City's ordinances to property located within the AOI ("AOI Agreement"). After the County filed a notice of non-objection, the district court entered an order granting the City's petition, reversing the County's original decision, and remanding the matter to the County. On remand, the County issued an amended decision that denied Gilgen's application for a conditional use permit. Several months later, Gilgen filed three motions for reconsideration from the district court's order remanding the case, alleging the district court did not have jurisdiction to consider the City's petition. Each of the motions was denied. Gilgen now appeals to this Court.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

This appeal arrives at the Court through a convoluted series of administrative and judicial proceedings. Given the lengthy and tortuous journey this case has undergone, many of these facts and procedural anomalies will not be repeated here. This matter commenced when the County granted Gilgen a conditional use permit to place a mobile home on her real property located within the City's AOI. The City filed a petition for judicial review of the County's decision, claiming that the placement of the mobile home did not comply with City ordinances, and therefore, did not comply with the AOI Agreement. The City's petition is not a model of clarity. It first requested "declaratory action, in addition to other relief, pursuant to I.C. § 10-1201 et. seq. [,]"1 even though it titled its pleading as a "petition for judicial review." The City also requested "judicial review of the many issues to th[e] district court as the AOI was located in Jefferson County, Idaho. [See, I.C. §§ 67-5270 et. seq. ]" and alleged that the error made by the County was "as contained in I.C. § 67-5279(1)(2)." The City asked the district court to declare the mobile home noncompliant, order its removal, and award the City attorney fees under Idaho Code section 12-117.

Once the matter was before the district court, the County filed a notice of non-objection to the City's petition. The County conceded it was bound to apply the City's ordinances under the AOI Agreement and gave notice of its intent to reverse its earlier decision granting Gilgen's conditional use permit.

Gilgen then filed a response to the City's petition. After acknowledging that the issue of a conditional use permit was reviewable under Idaho Code section 67-5279(2), Gilgen asked the court to stay any decision to remove the mobile home due to the amount of time it had been in place and because it would cause undue hardship to relocate as it was the middle of winter.

Following a hearing in which counsel for the City, the County, and Gilgen all agreed that remand would be appropriate given the County's position, the district court entered an order: (1) granting the City's petition; (2) remanding the matter to the County to enter a decision consistent with its notice of non-objection; and (3) ordering each party to bear its own attorney fees. After the matter was remanded, the County entered an amended written decision that vacated and reversed its prior decision. The amended decision denied Gilgen's request for a conditional use permit.

515 P.3d 259

Several months after the County issued its amended written decision, Gilgen obtained new counsel and filed a motion for reconsideration of the district court's order. Gilgen alleged the district court failed to adequately address her and her husband Kelly Gilgen's interests and argued they were denied due process. At a hearing on Gilgen's motion for reconsideration, her counsel alleged for the first time that the district court did not have jurisdiction to consider the City's petition for judicial review because a County Board of Commissioners does not fall within the definition of an agency for purposes of applying the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"). Gilgen alleged the district court similarly lacked jurisdiction to consider the City's petition under the Local Land Use Planning Act ("LLUPA") because the City did not have a bona fide interest in the real property at issue. Last, Gilgen's counsel noted that the only person represented at the hearing on the City's petition was Tina Gilgen and asserted that Kelly Gilgen had the right to intervene and protect his interests.

The district court ruled from the bench and denied Gilgen's motion, citing the fact that Gilgen's original counsel had essentially stipulated to the order Gilgen was now asking the court to vacate. Separately, the district court suggested that a motion to dismiss would be a more appropriate mechanism to address Gilgen's jurisdiction argument. The court also stated that it did not have a motion to intervene brought before it to consider Kelly Gilgen's standing in the case.

Gilgen then filed a motion to dismiss asserting the same jurisdictional arguments raised at the prior hearing. Gilgen also filed a second motion for reconsideration that incorporated the arguments raised in her motion to dismiss. In addition, Kelly Gilgen filed a motion to intervene in the action.

The City objected to Gilgen's motion to dismiss. The City reiterated its position that the County was required to apply the City's ordinances in the AOI, and that Gilgen's application did not comply with those ordinances. The City added that any alleged errors or arguments were waived because Gilgen did not file a timely appeal from the district court's order, nor did she appeal from the County's amended decision. The City asked the district court to dismiss Gilgen's motion and award the City and the County attorney fees under Idaho Code sections 12-117 and 12-121.

The County also filed an objection to Gilgen's motion, arguing that the City was an affected person for purposes of asserting a right of review under LLUPA; thus, the district court did not lack jurisdiction to consider the City's original petition. The County also filed an objection to Kelly Gilgen's motion to intervene. The County alleged that Kelly Gilgen's motion to intervene should be denied based on unclean hands and the principle of estoppel, arguing that Kelly Gilgen was attempting to appear for the purpose of raising new arguments and obtaining a different result than what was already found by the district court. To the extent the court chose to grant Kelly Gilgen's motion to intervene, the County argued he should be estopped from raising any new or conflicting arguments from those already proffered by his wife.

Following a hearing, the district court entered an order denying Gilgen's second motion to reconsider, the motion to intervene, and the motion to dismiss. The court agreed with the City and County's position that the City of Ririe was an "affected person with a bona fide interest in real property." I.C. § 67-6521(1)(a). The district court recognized that entities have previously been considered affected persons when applying LLUPA. Therefore, it held that "affected person" as used in Idaho Code section 67-6521 included the City. Considering whether the City had "an interest in real property," the court determined that the City was asserting an "interest" even if it was not claiming an ownership interest. The district court concluded:

[B]ecause Gilgen's property is within the ‘area of impact’ controlled by an AOI agreement between the City and County, and where that AOI acts as a buffer between the City limits and unincorporated County property, and where Gilgen's property is subject to the City's ordinance, the [c]ourt determines that the City does have standing as an affected person with an interest in real property that may be adversely
515 P.3d 260
affected, pursuant to I.C. § 67-6521(1)(a).

Because the second motion for reconsideration was predicated on the arguments found in the motion to...

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