FROM THE BENTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. CV-2015-818-2]
HONORABLE BRAD KARREN, JUDGE
Estill, Hardwick, Gable, Golden & Nelson, P.C., by:
Robert K. Rhoads and M. Scott Hall, for appellant.
B. Cate, City Attorney, for appellees.
PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge
a companion case to City of Bethel Heights v. Kendrick
Revocable Living Trust, 2017 Ark.App. 78, handed down
today. Here, the City of Bethel Heights appeals the decision
of the Benton County Circuit Court granting a motion to
dismiss Bethel Heights' declaratory-judgment action
against the appellee, the City of Springdale. The circuit court
also granted Springdale's motion for summary judgment
with respect to Springdale's decision to rezone a parcel
of property. We affirm.
litigation surrounding the detachment and annexation of the
subject property is the subject of the companion case. The
facts pertinent to the instant appeal are that Shelly
Kendrick and the Gregory A. Kendrick Living Trust
("Kendrick") owned parcels of property totaling
approximately eighty-seven or eighty-eight acres ("the
property"). The property was originally located within
the boundaries of Bethel Heights. In 2015, Kendrick sought to
detach the property from Bethel Heights and have it annexed
to Springdale pursuant to Act 779 of 1999. Following the
detachment of the Kendrick property from Bethel Heights,
Springdale filed an ordinance to annex the property in March
2015. Springdale subsequently filed an ordinance
to rezone the property from agricultural use to industrial
use. Bethel Heights challenged Springdale's rezoning
actions, filing a complaint that sought a declaratory
judgment and injunctive relief.
underlying dispute between the parties involves the enactment
and amendment of local zoning. Such actions are a legislative
function. Sullins v. Cent. Ark. Water, 2015 Ark. 29,
at 8, 454 S.W.3d 727, 732-33 (citing Bolen v. Washington
Cnty. Zoning Bd. of Adjustments, 2011 Ark.App. 319, at
7, 384 S.W.3d 33, 38). One challenging a municipality's
legislative rezoning decision may appeal to the circuit court
of the county in which the rezoning was authorized. Ark. Code
Ann. § 14-56-425(b)(1) (Supp. 2015). The circuit court
shall uphold the legislative rezoning decision unless the
court determines that the decision was arbitrary or
capricious or lacking a rational basis. Ark. Code Ann. §
14-56-425(b)(2); PH, LLC v. City of Conway,
2009 Ark. 504, at 12, 344 S.W.3d 660, 667. The supreme court
established the guidelines for determining whether
legislative zoning actions are arbitrary and capricious in
City of Lowell v. M & N Mobile Home Park, Inc.,
323 Ark. 332, 916 S.W.2d 95 (1996):
In reviewing cases involving legislative enactments, such as
zoning ordinances, there is a presumption that the
legislative branch acted in a reasonable manner, and the
burden is on the moving party to prove that the enactment was
arbitrary. City of Little Rock v. Breeding, 273 Ark.
437, 619 S.W.2d 664 (1981).
. . . .
We recently defined "arbitrary" and
"capricious" in City of Little Rock v.
Pfeifer, 318 Ark. 679, 887 S.W.2d 296 (1994), as
follows: Arbitrary is "decisive but unreasoned action,
" and capricious is "not guided by steady judgment
or purpose." The definition most easy to apply was given
in City of Little Rock v. Breeding, 273 Ark. 437,
445, 619 S.W.2d 664, 668 (1981), when we said that the
enactment was ...