Facts: A local government reviewed a proposal to develop a senior multi-unit residential facility. The parcel of land proposed for development was located in a zone reserved for single family residential (SFR) units, implemented by a specific plan. The local government approved the facility and amended the specific plan to include a new, less restrictive zoning district for the senior housing project.
Claim: Local property owners sought to prevent the development, claiming the government’s approval constituted impermissible spot zoning since it violated the specific plan by arbitrarily allowing the senior housing project to be subjected to less restrictive zoning than surrounding SFR zones.
Counter claim: The local government claimed it did not enact impermissible spot zoning since changes made to the zoning district were in the public interest and still followed residential housing guidelines set by the specific plan.
Holding: A California court of appeal held the local government was entitled to permit the development as its approval did not constitute impermissible spot zoning since the government amended the zone in the public interest and remained consistent with the residential standards defined by the specific plan. [Foothill Communities Coalition v. County of Orange (January 13, 2014)_CA4th_]