City of Dallas v. Homan

Dallas Court of Appeals, No. 05-20-01111-CV (March 31, 2022)
Justices Carlyle, Smith, and Garcia (Opinion available here)

Katherine Homan filed a declaratory judgment action claiming that an amended zoning ordinance was invalid. The City of Dallas filed a plea to the jurisdiction, arguing Homan had no standing to challenge the ordinance. The trial court disagreed, denied the plea to the jurisdiction, and granted summary judgment in favor of Homan on her declaratory judgment claim that the ordinance is invalid. The City appealed.

The Dallas Court of Appeals agreed Homan had standing to contest the ordinance. Standing to challenge a government action requires a showing that the plaintiff suffered a particularized injury apart from the general public. So, in the context of a zoning decision, a plaintiff has standing “when the zoning affects the plaintiff differently than other members of the general public.” The Court noted that the Texas Legislature has created a mechanism for parties living within 200 feet of a proposed zoning change to receive notice and have the opportunity to protest the change. The Court found this to be a recognition that property owners within 200 feet of a proposed zoning change face a greater risk of injury to the use, enjoyment, and value of their property than the general public. This is a sufficient interest in the process to confer standing.