City of Morgan Hill v. BusheyAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court held that the people of a county or city can challenge by referendum a zoning ordinance amendment that would bring the ordinance into compliance with a change to the county’s or city’s general plan, at least where the local government has other means available to make the zoning ordinance and general plan consistent.
Cal. Gov. Code 65860(a) requires zoning ordinances to “be consistent with the general plan of the county or city.” When the general plan is amended without also changing the corresponding zoning ordinance, the city or county must amend the zoning ordinance within a reasonable time to make it consistent with the general plan. At issue was whether the people may challenge by referendum a zoning ordinance amendment that would bring the ordinance into compliance with a general plan, even though the referendum would temporarily leave in place a zoning ordinance that does not comply with the general plan. The Supreme Court held in this case that the Court of Appeal did not err in holding that a referendum can invalidate a zoning ordinance amendment to achieve compliance with a general plan amendment, where other general-plan-compliant zoning designations are available that would be consistent with a successful referendum.