Historic Commission’s suit moot after City acquired title to property says El Paso Court of Appeals

City of El Paso v Grossman, 02-17-00384-CV (Tex. App. – El Paso, August 30, 2018).

Max Grossman, an assistant professor of Art History at the University of Texas-El Paso and who serves on the El Paso County Historical Commission, sought a declaratory judgment to prevent the City from demolishing an older downtown area, “Duranguito” (Union Plaza), and putting up a multipurpose cultural, athletic, and performing arts facility. The City filed a plea to the jurisdiction, which was denied. During the pendency of the appeal, the court of appeals issued emergency relief to prevent demolition while the appeal was pending. The City moved the court of appeals dismiss its appeal, explaining that since its notice, the City had purchased the property in question and wished to proceed to trial.  Grossman opposed the dismissal.

Texas Natural Resources Code § 191.0525(a) requires notice to a historical commission before an entity breaks ground in order for the commission to determine historical significance. After acquiring title, the City did notify the Commission. This mooted the declaratory judgment claims. The remainder of Grossman’s claims are not yet ripe as they occur after notice and historic analysis are provided.  As a result, the court granted the City’s motion to dismiss the appeal as moot and release the emergency stay.

If you would like to read this opinion click here. Panel consists of Chief Justice Sudderth, Justice Gabriel and Justice Pittman.  Memorandum Opinion by Chief Justice Sudderth.  The docket sheet with attorney information can be found here.