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Board of County Commissioners of Teton County v. Mackay Investments, LLC

Supreme Court of Wyoming

March 28, 2018

BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF TETON COUNTY, WYOMING, a duly organized county of the State of Wyoming, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
MACKAY INVESTMENTS, LLC, a Wyoming limited liability company; twenty-one consecutively numbered entities FS JH 1 LLC through FS JH 21 LLC, each a Wyoming limited liability company; BUFFALO VALLEY RESORT, INC., a Wyoming corporation; and twenty-one consecutively numbered entities FS BV 1 LLC through FS BV 21 LLC, each a Wyoming limited liability company, Appellees (Plaintiffs).

          Appeal from the District Court of Teton County The Honorable Timothy C. Day, Judge

          Representing Appellant: Keith M. Gingery, Teton County Attorney's Office, Jackson, Wyoming.

          Representing Appellees: Matthew Kim-Miller and Hadassah M. Reimer, Holland & Hart, LLP, Jackson, Wyoming. Argument by Mr. Kim-Miller.

          Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL [*] , DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.

          BURKE, CHIEF JUSTICE.

         [¶1] Mackay Investments, LLC, filed a declaratory judgment against the Board of County Commissioners of Teton County, Wyoming, challenging the Teton County Land Development Regulation prohibiting fractional ownership of campgrounds. The district court granted summary judgment in Mackay's favor, ruling that the regulation was unenforceable because it was beyond the County's zoning authority. The Board appealed. We affirm.

         ISSUE

         [¶2] Does the Teton County Land Development Regulation prohibiting fractional ownership of campgrounds exceed the County's zoning authority?

         FACTS

         [¶3] The pertinent facts in this case are undisputed. Mackay owned and operated two campgrounds in Teton County, JH Fireside Resort and Buffalo Valley Fireside Resort. Long-term camping is prohibited at both campgrounds. Pursuant to a settlement agreement between Mackay and Teton County, [1] "no person shall stay at the [JH Fireside Resort] for a period of longer than twenty-nine (29) consecutive days in any sixty (60) day period." Under the terms of a conditional use permit for Buffalo Valley, [2] the length of stay there is limited to "less than 30 days in any 90 day period." These limitations are generally consistent with Teton County Land Development Regulation § 6.1.5.D.2.d, which limits campsite occupancy to "less than 31 days in any 90-day period."

         [¶4] In 2015, Mackay transferred undivided tenant in common fee ownership interests in JH Fireside Resort to twenty-one separate entities (FS JH 1 LLC through FS JH 21 LLC). Mackay retained an undivided tenant in common fee ownership interest in the campground. As a result, the JH Fireside Resort is now owned by twenty-two separate entities, each as a tenant in common with an undivided interest in the whole. After a similar transaction, Buffalo Valley Fireside Resort is also owned by twenty-two separate entities (Mackay and FS BV 1 LLC through FS BV 21 LLC) as undivided tenants in common.

         [¶5] All campground owners are subject to Tenancy in Common Agreements, which assign each tenant in common access to several campsites. Each owner may choose to camp at one of its assigned campsites and rent out the rest. In the alternative, an owner may choose not to use any of its assigned spaces, and instead collect rental income for all of the spaces from other campers. The Agreements acknowledge that, pursuant to the settlement agreement and conditional use permit discussed above, there are limitations on the length of occupancy of any campsite by any one camper.

         [¶6] In 2016, Teton County sent a Notice of Violation to Mackay, [3] asserting that tenant in common ownership of the campgrounds violates a section of the Teton County Land Development Regulations that prohibits fractional ownership of campgrounds. The County asserted that tenant in common ownership is a prohibited type of fractional ownership. The County warned that if tenant in common interests in the campgrounds were sold to new owners, the County would take additional enforcement action, potentially including monetary penalties.

         [¶7] In response, Mackay filed a declaratory judgment action in the district court seeking a determination that the Land Development Regulation in question exceeded Teton County's regulatory authority and was unenforceable. Teton County answered, asking for a ruling that the regulation was within the County's authority. Mackay filed a motion for summary judgment. The parties agreed that there were no disputed issues of material fact, and asked the district ...


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