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Northern Monticello Alliance LLC v. San Juan County

Northern Monticello Alliance LLC v. San Juan County, 2020 UT App 79 (Orme, J., majority; Christiansen Forster, J., concurring)

Constitutional

After receiving complaints about a wind farm’s violations of a conditional use permit, a planning commission decided to not revoke the permit, but it did so without allowing another business to participate in the revocation proceedings in a meaningful way. The business appealed to the county commission, which upheld the decision. The business sought judicial review in the district court. The district court remanded the case to the county commission, noting that the county commission’s decision did not comply with basic due process. On remand, the county commission allowed the business to brief and argue the issues but not to present its own evidence. The business sought judicial review again. The district court ultimately granted summary judgment in favor of the county commission, reasoning that the county commission gave the business due process. The Utah Court of Appeals reversed, holding:

  • Because the statutory scheme and the county zoning ordinance provide protections to adjacent property owners who are harmed by a conditional use permit from the beginning, adjacent land owners who are adversely affected or aggrieved by a land use decision have due process rights at each stage of the process. 
  • Here, the business—which was comprised of adversely affected persons— was deprived of due process because it was never provided an opportunity to present its evidence of the wind farm’s alleged failure to comply with the conditional use permit.
  • Concurrence: The concurring judge agreed with the majority’s ultimate conclusion but believed the business’s due process rights arose from the county’s approval of the conditional use permit. The wind farm had a property interest in the continuation of the permit, which entitled it to due process before its permit could be revoked. Likewise, the adjoining landowners who were protected from the conditional use of the wind farm’s property were also entitled to the enforcement of the mitigation required by the permit, which would have given them the right to be heard and present evidence.

Read the full court opinion

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