Justia U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Zoning, Planning & Land Use
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Plaintiff Jane Huggins, trading as SADISCO of Maryland (SADISCO) sued Prince George’s County, Maryland and five County officials after the County shut down the salvage automobile wholesaling business operated by SADISCO on a parcel of land that SADISCO owned within the County. SADISCO’s complaint alleged one count under federal law and four counts under Maryland’s common law. The district court dismissed certain counts pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and granted summary judgment in favor of the County and officials with respect to the remaining counts. Plaintiff appealed, and after review, the Fourth Circuit found that the district court correctly rejected Plaintiff's arguments. View "Huggins v. Prince George's County, MD" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed the district court's dismissal of its complaint, alleging that Arlington County's sign ordinance violated the First Amendment. Plaintiff had commissioned a painting described as including "happy cartoon dogs, bones, and paw prints" and the county subsequently notified plaintiff that the painting violated the sign ordinance. The court agreed with the district court that the ordinance was a content-neutral restriction on speech that satisfied intermediate scrutiny. Finding no merit to the other constitutional challenges, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Wag More Dogs, LLC v. Cozart" on Justia Law

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The Board rejected the application of AT&T to build an 88-foot telecommunications tower in a residential neighborhood, a decision which AT&T later challenged in the District Court. The district court determined that substantial evidence supported the Board's decision and that the Board's ruling did not effectively prohibit wireless services under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, 47 U.S.C. 322(c)(7)(B)(i)(II) and (B)(iii). The court found that the Board's denial of AT&T's application had substantial support in the record as a whole and complied with the substantial evidence requirement of subsection (B)(iii). Based on the failure of proof by AT&T, the district court correctly granted summary judgment to the Board on AT&T's claim that the Board's denial of its application violated subsection (B)(i)(II) of the Act. View "New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC v. The Fairfax Cty. Bd. of Supervisors" on Justia Law

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Appellants challenged the Agencies' execution of a tiered review process related to planning improvements to Virginia's Interstate 81 corridor. The district court rejected appellants' challenge which alleged various constitutional and statutory violations. On appeal, appellants claimed that the Agencies were attempting to foreclose consideration of environmentally friendly alternatives for specific sections of I-81 by choosing a corridor-wide improvement concept in the first stage of the review process. The court held, however, that appellants misapprehended the Agencies' position where the Agencies planned to comply with the Stipulation in this case and the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq., by considering site-specific alternatives to the corridor-wide concept in subsequent stages. Because there was no actual dispute here, and because appellants could not show any injury or imminent threat of injury, this suit was not justiciable. Accordingly, the court dismissed the appeal. View "Shenandoah Valley Network v. Capka, et al." on Justia Law