Justia Election Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Zoning, Planning & Land Use
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This was the latest in a series of opinions by the Court of Appeals involving the constitutional provision and the implementing legislation authorizing a limited number of slot machines at specified Maryland facilities, including facilities in the area of Anne Arundel County (County). A County zoning ordinance authorized slot machines in certain areas of the County. The circuit court determined that the ordinance was not subject to referendum under the County charter. On appeal, the Court of Appeals (1) held the circuit court's judgment was appealable, as (i) the Legislature no no intention of applying the non-appealability principle of Md. Code Ann. Cts. & Jud. Proc. 12-302(a) to cases under the Election Article, and (ii) where the Election Article authorizes judicial review but is silent regarding an appeal, Md. Code Ann. Cts. & Jud. Proc.12-301 authorizes an appeal; and (2) reversed the circuit court's judgment and remanded with instructions to order that the ordinance be placed on the ballot at the general election in accordance with the referendum provisions of the County charter, holding that the ordinance was simply a local ordinance re-zoning an area, and as such, it was not exempt from a referendum. View "Citizens Against Slots At The Mall v. PPE Casino Resorts Md., LLC" on Justia Law

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The ordinance prohibits posting signs on utility poles, streetlights, sign posts, and trees in a public right-of-way. At the time their actions were brought, plaintiffs were both candidates for political office in an area of the city that contains "a classic urban landscape of row house neighborhoods, where most homes have no front yard." They claimed that, given their limited funds, they would have ordinarily relied heavily on signs posted on street poles to spread their political messages. Several political candidates received numerous tickets. The district court ruled in favor of the city. The Third Circuit affirmed, rejecting claims that the ordinance violated the First, Fourteenth, and Twenty-Fourth Amendments. Plaintiffs conceded that the ordinance is content-neutral. It is narrowly tailored to serve significant governmental interests and leaves open ample alternatives for communication. View "Johnson v. City of Philadelphia" on Justia Law

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The Liberty Township board of trustees approved a zoning amendment that rezoned three parcels of township land. Subsequently, a group of petitioners filed a referendum petition seeking to submit the board's action approving the rezoning of the property to the electors of the township. Relators, the owner of the property at issue, the developer of the property, and the developer company's president, submitted a protest to the county board of elections against the referendum petition. The board certified the referendum petition and placed the rezoning issue on the general-election ballot and rejected Relators' protest grounds. Relators then filed this action for a writ of prohibition and a writ of mandamus to compel the board to sustain their protest. The Supreme Court granted the writ of prohibition, holding that the board of elections abused its discretion by denying Relators' protest, certifying the referendum petition, and submitting the zoning amendment to the electorate because the petitioners did not timely file their referendum petition pursuant to statute. View "State ex rel. Edwards Land Co., Ltd. v. Delaware County Bd. of Elections" on Justia Law