City of Helena v. SveeAnnotate this Case
Section 11-41-2 of the Helena City Code (the Ordinance) places limitations on roofing materials used on structures located within the wildland-urban interface (WUI) district. The City filed suit against homeowners whose property was situated within the WUI zoning district (Homeowners), alleging violation of the Ordinance. Homeowners answered the complaint and petitioned for a declaratory judgment that the Ordinance was invalid on statutory and constitutional grounds. The district court granted summary judgment for Homeowners, concluding that the Ordinance was a building regulation, and the City was not authorized to adopt building regulations under the guise of a zoning ordinance. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part, holding that the district court (1) did not err by determining that the Ordinance was an impermissible building code and not a zoning ordinance; (2) erred by concluding that Homeowners were ineligible for an award of attorney fees; and (3) did not err by denying and dismissing Homeowners' constitutional arguments.