Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

YOUNG v. COUNTY OF SAN MATEO

December 16, 2005.

PATRICIA A. YOUNG, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF SAN MATEO, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES BREYER, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

In this section 1983 action plaintiff challenges San Mateo's adoption of an ordinance regulating bed and breakfast establishments. The Court previously dismissed some of the claims, but denied defendant's motion to dismiss as to others. Now pending before the Court is defendant's motion for summary judgment on the remaining claims.

Factual Background

  In 1999, plaintiff purchased residential property at 1201 West Selby Lane, Redwood City, California ("the property"), located outside the Coastal Zone in the unincorporated section of defendant San Mateo County ("defendant"). The property is in an area designated as "R-1" (residential single-family homes) under local zoning ordinances. On or about August 24, 2000, plaintiff applied for a building permit for construction of a bed and breakfast. In so doing, plaintiff claims to have relied on defendant's pamphlets and ordinances which stated that for locations outside the Coastal Zone, no use permit or license is required to construct a bed and breakfast, and that so long as an R-1 single family home retains the appearance of a single family dwelling and satisfies parking requirements, an owner may rent five or fewer rooms short term in their own home and provide meals for guests.

  From March 7, 2002, to November 5, 2002, plaintiff was issued her demolition, building, and sewer permits.

  On December 11, 2003, plaintiff was asked to appear at a San Mateo County Planning Department meeting to discuss neighbor concerns about plaintiff's bed and breakfast, which was expected to open within two to four weeks. At the meeting, defendant presented plaintiff with a proposed "Urgency Interim Ordinance" that in application modified the existing zoning laws and impacted only plaintiff's property. Defendant's findings in relation to the ordinance declared that as a result of analysis of 1201 West Selby Lane, the potential threat to neighborhood character by bed and breakfasts warranted modification of county zoning restrictions.

  On December 16, 2003, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors voted to adopt the Urgency Interim Ordinance, which in effect placed additional restrictions on plaintiff's ability to operate her bed and breakfast. The Ordinance's "Findings and Declarations" note that Section 6400 of the San Mateo County Zoning Regulations authorizes certain specified "accessory uses" in a residential district, and in 1989 the San Mateo County Planning Director adopted a policy that recognized that a bed and breakfast operation of five or fewer rooms was an authorized accessory use. Ordinance No. 4200 at 1. The Findings further note that plaintiff was advertising her proposed bed and breakfast as serving the "business and leisure traveler," and as indicating the availability of a "conference room," and the ability to host "small meetings" and "seminars." Id. at 2. The Ordinance recites that this advertising concerned the Board that the operation of plaintiff's bed and breakfast would not be consistent with the residential character of the neighborhood. Id.

  In light of these findings, the Ordinance provides that the "providing of table board in a dwelling in which any room is rented at any time for a period of less than 30 consecutive days (commonly known as a bed and breakfast inn)" is a permitted incidental use of a dwelling in a residential area, provided the bed and breakfast complies with certain restrictions. For example, "[t]he maximum number of registered guests . . . on any given evening shall not exceed 1.5 times the number of guest rooms . . ." and the "maximum number of guest motor vehicles parked on site . . . shall be limited to the number of off street or driveway parking spaces provided." The Ordinance also provides:
There shall be no hosting of meetings, conferences or social events, whether on a commercial or non-commercial basis, involving on-site participants who are not registered guests. . . . Similar events for registered guests shall be conducted indoors only between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
A December 2003 memorandum to the Board of Supervisors from the San Mateo County Director of Environmental Services explains that the purpose of the "meetings and conferences" restriction is to "limit activities that go beyond the traditional purpose of bed and breakfast inns: overnight accommodations."

  On December 23, 2003, plaintiff filed this Section 1983 action making eight claims challenging the adoption of the Ordinance on First Amendment and substantive due process grounds.

  The next month the Board of Supervisors adopted a new ordinance to supercede the emergency ordinance. The new ordinance includes the same restrictions with a few exceptions. Notably, the restriction on meetings, conferences or social events expressly does not apply to persons who reside at the bed and breakfast as their residence: "These limitations do not apply to personal social events or meetings engaged in by person occupying the dwelling as a single family residence." Ordinance No. 4204 at 5.

  Plaintiff subsequently amended her complaint. Her First Amended Complaint included a claim for relief alleging that the restriction on the hosting of meetings, conferences or social events was "void for vagueness," as well as a claim for equitable estoppel and declaratory relief, among other claims.

  Defendants moved to dismiss the First Amended Complaint. By Memorandum and Order dated July 19, 2004, the Court granted defendants' motion in part. Thereafter the County passed a new ordinance which prohibits the operation of new bed and breakfasts in non-coastal residential areas of San Mateo County, but exempted existing bed and breakfasts, that is, plaintiff's bed and breakfast. Ordinance No. 4225. Plaintiff's bed and breakfast, however, is still subject to Ordinance No. 4204, including the "meetings and conferences" prohibitions.

  Plaintiff subsequently filed a Second Amended Complaint ("SAC"). The SAC makes two substantive claims: (1) a facial First Amendment challenge on the ground that the restriction on the hosting of meetings, conferences, and social events is inherently vague, and (2) a claim that defendant is barred by equitable estoppel from enforcing the bed and breakfast restrictions against her. Defendant moves for summary ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.