Krejci v. City of Saratoga Springs, 2013 UT 74 (December 10, 2013)
The Utah Supreme Court addressed the constitutional question of whether site-specific rezoning is administrative or legislative action, and consequently whether a site-specific rezoning decision is subject to a citizen petition to place the issue on the ballot for referendum. The citizens of Saratoga Springs sought to place the city’s rezoning decision on the ballot after the city granted a landowner’s request to rezone its property to allow for development of the land into mansion-style town homes. The landowner sued and obtained an injunction from the district court against the city. The Utah Supreme Court granted a petition for extraordinary writ from the citizens and directed the city to place the referendum on the ballot. In doing so, the court overruled its prior precedent and held that specific rezoning decisions are legislative action, subject to referendum. The court explained that specific rezoning decisions are legislative actions because they create new law that calls for the broad weighing of all relevant public policy considerations. They do not involve the application of existing law to a new set of facts such as granting a variance or conditional use permit, which are recognized administrative actions.