Legislative Update: Important Amendment to Legal Zoning Protest Statute

This week, a new law was signed by Governor Ducey amending the existing state statute regarding legal protests, otherwise known as the super-majority vote requirement. The amendment to the statute will have significant impact on zoning cases throughout the state once it goes into effect on August 9th, 2017.

Here’s the lay of the land on HB 2116:

  • A legal protest now requires objection from 20% of ALL the owners by both property area AND number of units within the 150ft perimeter around a property being rezoned. Previously, the statute stated that 20% of the owners within 150ft on one “side” of the parcel could invoke a legal protest. This new definition of the protest area makes it more difficult for opponents to achieve the 20% threshold.
  • The 150ft perimeter no longer excludes rights-of-way. This is particularly significant for property surrounded by major arterial roadways, such as infill properties.
  • If a legal protest is filed, the supermajority or ¾ vote now rounds to the nearest whole number. For example, for a city council with 7 members, the vote now rounds to 5 rather than the previously required 6. One less vote required can make a world difference in highly contested cases.

We are the firm for the job when it comes to difficult cases with potential for a legal protest. Our zoning team, John Berry and Wendy Riddell, have conquered some of the toughest zoning challenges across the valley, from Phoenix to Scottsdale to Mesa and everywhere in between. We’re uniquely equipped to help you achieve your zoning objectives.