Many real estate developers present their cherished plans to the Irvine City Planning Commission or the Zoning Administrator for approval. Unhappily, the planning commission or the administrator may reject many of these proposals. What is the frustrated developer to do?
The answer is relatively simple: appeal. But where is such an appeal filed and who deicides the issues?
Complete answers to these questions can be found in the City Zoning Code, but this post will provide what is hoped will be a useful summary.
Beginning the appeal process
Three separate offices consider development applications: the Director of Community Development, the Zoning Administrator and the Planning Commission.
Decisions of the Director of Community Development and the Zoning Administrator must be appealed to the Planning Commission. The City Council hears appeals of
Every appeal must be filed within 15 calendar days after the date of the decision. An appeal may be filed by the property owner or by any person who owns property or resides nearby. All appeals must be made in writing and must be accompanied by a preliminary filing fee as set by the council.
The outcome of the appeal process
The city council has the final say in all zoning disputes. If an aggrieved party objects to the decision of the city council, the next step is an appeal to the district court having jurisdiction over the land in question. The court has the power to affirm, modify or set aside the decision under review. A court will not review a city council decision unless the asserted error was first presented to the council during its review process.
California courts generally uphold city council decisions on land use and zoning matters, and the decision to file an appeal in the district court should not be made lightly. A lawyer with experience in zoning and land use law may be able to provide invaluable assistance, especially on the decision about whether to lodge a court appeal.