Luther, Collier, Hodges & Cash, LLP – Attorneys at Law

Alabama – Due Process – Hearings for Deannexation Petitions

The Supreme Court of Alabama has affirmed the dismissal of a homeowners’ association’s complaint against the city of Pelham for its refusal to hear its petition to be deannexed from the city’s municipal limits. Members of the homeowners’ association, called Courtyard Manor, said that the city had agreed to hear their petition, but then had refused to do so. Members of Courtyard Manor wished to be deannexed from the city of Pelham so that it could join the city of Chelsea. Parents in the community wanted the change because the commute to Pelham High School was lengthy and through heavily trafficked areas, believing the new high school would be safer and easier to reach.

The Court took guidance on deannexation procedure from Ala. Code §11-42-200, which states that when a city’s governing body believes that public welfare requires that body to reduce the boundaries of that city, then it should do so. The Court noted that the statute did not discuss deannexation petitions or set requirements therefor. The Court then turned to precedent, and found authority stating that, when a court is reviewing a city governing body’s reduction decision, and the reasonableness of the reduction is debatable, then the court should defer to the governing body’s judgment, overturning the same only upon abuse of discretion.

Courtyard Manor argued that the Alabama Constitution required the city to hear its petition, pointing to Article I Section 25, granting citizens the right to assemble and petition the government. The Court disagreed that that portion of the constitution applied in the case, and declined to read that portion of the constitution as putting an obligation on local governments to review petitions for deannexation and to respond on a manner that a court may review.

Courtyard Manor Homeowners’ Association, Inc. v. City of Pelham, (October 18, 2019).


Exit mobile version