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Cary v. City of Rapid City

559 N.W.2d 891 (1997)

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Cary v. City of Rapid City

South Dakota Supreme Court

559 N.W.2d 891 (1997)

Facts

Cary (plaintiff) owned property that was annexed into the City of Rapid City (the city) (defendant). Following the annexation, the property’s real estate taxes increased significantly, and the property was zoned as a general agricultural property. The property was used as a horse pasture and generated a nominal rental income. Because of the increased property taxes, Cary decided to sell the property and received an offer to purchase that was contingent on the property being rezoned as a medium-density residential property so that the potential buyer could develop apartment buildings on the property. Cary petitioned the city to rezone the property to a medium-density residential property, and the city approved the petition and passed the appropriate zoning ordinance. Days later, more than 40 percent of the neighboring property owners filed a written protest pursuant to a South Dakota state statute. That statute provided that no zoning ordinance would become effective if 40 percent of the neighboring property owners whose property was within 150 feet of the property to be affected by the zoning ordinance filed a written protest. The statute provided no standards or guidelines for which the neighboring property owners must abide and did not provide for a legislative review of the protest. Based on this statute, the city took the position that its zoning ordinance was not effective. Cary filed a lawsuit against the city requesting that the city’s zoning ordinance be declared effective and arguing that the state statute was unconstitutional. The trial court ruled for the city, and Cary appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Miller, C.J.)

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