Trial court properly denied injunctive request to prohibit City from relocating administrative offices

Leslie E. Barras and Historic Orange Preservation Empowerment, Inc. v. The City of Orange, Texas, et al, 09-16-00073-CV (Tex. App— Beaumont, November 17,2016)

This is an appeal from the denial of an injunctive request to prevent the City from relocating its administrative offices.

In 1996, within the City’s Comprehensive Master Plan, the City determined its administrative offices should be centralized in the Old Town Center of the City. In 2016 the City purchased and made plans to move some of its offices outside of the Old Town Center. Historic Orange Preservation Empowerment, Inc. (“HOPE”) sued for injunctive relief to prevent the move. The trial court denied the injunctive relief and HOPE appealed.

HOPE argues the CITY is required to amend the City Charter because it requires that “[n]o subdivision, street, park, or any public way, ground or space, public building or structure or public utility, whether publicly or privately owned which is in conflict with the comprehensive plan shall be constructed or authorized by the City.” HOPE asserts this makes the comprehensive Plan mandatory and not simply a guide. However, the Plan expressly provides that it is “a guide to the physical development of Orange[,]” and it states that it is “a tool for elected and appointed officials and city staff to guide decision making for growth and development issues.”  After analyzing the Plan, the court held it is a guiding document only. Additionally, the parts of the Plan relating to the location of the City’s administrative offices were never adopted by ordinance.  The Charter applies only to legislation through ordinance, not resolution.  The resolution passed by City Council to move its facilities is therefore not in conflict with the Comprehensive Master Plan. As a result, the trial court properly denied the injunctive relief.

If you would like to read this opinion click here. The panel includes Chief Justice Mckeithen, Justice Horton, and Justice Johnson.  Justice Horton delivered the opinion of the court. Attorneys for HOPE are listed as Jamie Matuska, Leslie Barras and David W. Starnes. Attorneys for the City are listed as Guy Goodson, John Cash Smith, and Kate Leverett.