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Hyde Park Co. v. Santa Fe City Council

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20195
Nos. Nos. 99-2079, -2084, 226 F.3d 1207/(10th Cir., 09/29/2000)

The court holds that a real estate developer, whose proposed subdivision plat for land in Santa Fe, New Mexico, met all enumerated requirements for plat approval, was not entitled to approval of its proposed plat as a matter of federal constitutional law. The case arose after the city council reversed the city planning commission's decision to approve the plat. The court holds that the applicable ordinances fail to place any discernible substantive limitations on the city council's discretion in this matter and, thus, fail as a matter of constitutional law to establish more than the developer's unilateral expectation that the city council would approve its proposed plat. Although the city council delegated land use authority to the planning commission, the council's delegation of authority to the commission is not absolute. Rather, the city council retains the power to review the commission's decisions. Moreover, because the ordinances contain no standards governing the city council's exercise of discretion, the ordinances simply do not impose significant substantive restraints on the city council's power of review. The developer, therefore, had no protectible property interest on which to base his due process claims.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Jerry A. Walz
Sommer, Fox, Udall, Othmer, Hardwick & Wise
200 W. Marcy St., Ste. 129, Santa Fe NM 87504
(505) 982-4676

Counsel for Defendants
Nancy R. Long
Herrera, Long & Pound
2200 Brothers Rd., Santa Fe NM 87502
(505) 982-8405

Before McKay and Alarcon,* JJ.