Saturday, January 24, 2004

Reconsideration of a QJ Decision

A recent case - SMULL v. TOWN OF JUPITER, 4D02-1818 (Fla.App. 4 Dist. 2003) - released September 3, held that a town board could reconsider its quasi-judicial decision up to the time for filing a challenge to it (30 days from rendition), unless such a challenge had been filed.

Also - and critical to practitioners - the Court held that the time (in this case) to challenge the decision did not begin to run until after the Board had voted to reconsider because the first time it voted the decision was not reduced to writing and filed with the Town Clerk. The Court held that the decision was not "rendered" as defined in Fla. R. App. P 9.020(h) (governing common-law cert appeals) until the decision was reduced to writing and filed.


1) If you're on the losing end of a qj decision, you can ask for reconsideration w/in 30 days.
2) If you're on the winning side of a qj decision, the decision isn't really final until the 30 day window for challenging it closes.
3) Regardless of what side you're on - the time to challenge doesn't start to run until it's reduced to writing AND filed! This is a very, very big thing in many jurisdictions, where board votes are not written and filed immediately. It's an even bigger issue for jurisdictions where denials are not ever reduced to writing!

This creates a GIANT problem for quasi-judicial rezoning decisions. Under Snyder and GBV, a City or County Commission doesn't have to provide a written opinion. But if there's no written decision, it's not rendered - so you can't challenge it.

And to throw in another complexity - the 30 day window for challenging a development order under s.163.3215 has been held to start running when the decision is made, without regard to the "rendered" definition in 9.020(h). So your window to mount a 3215 challenge may be shorter than your window to enter a cert challenge.

For your consideration, the decision is linked below:


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