CITY OF GROVE v. BOYCE

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CITY OF GROVE v. BOYCE
2010 OK CIV APP 59
Case Number: 107316
Decided: 05/07/2010
Mandate Issued: 06/04/2010
DIVISION III
THE COURT OF CIVIL APPEALS OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA, DIVISION III

THE INCORPORATED CITY OF GROVE, DELAWARE COUNTY, OKLAHOMA, an Oklahoma municipal corporation, Plaintiff/Appellee,
v.
VERNON BOYCE, individually, and BOYCE INVESTMENTS, L.L.C., d/b/a ALL AMERICAN OUTDOOR ADVERTISING COMPANY, Defendants/Appellants,
and
THE GRAND RIVER DAM AUTHORITY, Defendant/Appellee.

APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF DELAWARE COUNTY, OKLAHOMA

HONORABLE ROBERT G. HANEY, JUDGE

AFFIRMED

Brandon A. Johnson, DAVIS & THOMPSON, Jay, Oklahoma, for Plaintiff/Appellee,
Jot Hartley, Daniel Giraldi, THE HARTLEY LAW FIRM, PLLC, Vinita, Oklahoma, for Defendants/Appellants,
Gretchen Zumwalt-Smith, Vinita, Oklahoma, for Defendant/Appellee.

ROBERT DICK BELL, VICE-CHIEF JUDGE:

¶1 Defendants/Appellants, Vernon Boyce and Boyce Investments, L.L.C., d/b/a All American Outdoor Advertising Company (Boyce), appeal from the trial court's judgment permanently enjoining Boyce from constructing billboards on certain property deemed to be within the city limits of Plaintiff/Appellee, City of Grove (City). For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

¶2 In 2007, Boyce leased certain real property (Subject Property) from the landowner for the purpose of erecting billboards. After Boyce began constructing billboards in July 2008, City filed a petition for injunctive relief. City's petition alleged the billboards were in violation of City of Grove Municipal Ordinance No. 451, which prohibits, with certain exceptions, all non-accessory and billboard signs within the city limits of Grove. Boyce counterclaimed, asserting the Subject Property had been de-annexed by City via Municipal Ordinance No. 404 on December 3, 1996. Defendant/Appellee, The Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA), was later added as a party at the direction of the trial court.

¶3 Both City and Boyce filed motions for summary judgment. The trial court denied Boyce's motion and granted City's motion. Specifically, the trial court permanently enjoined Boyce from constructing billboards on the Subject Property and ordered Boyce to remove all construction thus far completed. From said judgment, Boyce appeals. This matter stands submitted for accelerated appellate review on the trial court record pursuant to Rule 13(h), Rules for District Courts, 12 O.S. Supp. 2002, Ch. 2, App., and Rule 1.36, Oklahoma Supreme Court Rules, 12 O.S. Supp. 2003, Ch. 15, App. 1.

¶4 This Court's standard of review of a trial court's grant of summary judgment is de novo. Hoyt v. Paul R. Miller, M.D., Inc., 1996 OK 80, ¶2, 921 P.2d 350, 351-52. Summary judgment is proper when the evidentiary materials "establish that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Shelley v. Kiwash Elec. Co-op., 1996 OK 44, ¶15, 914 P.2d 669, 674. The sole issue in this case is whether the trial court properly concluded the Subject Property is located within the Grove city limits. Such conclusion emanated from the trial court's interpretation of Ordinance No. 404. A legal question involving the interpretation of legislation is also subject to de novo review by this Court. Fulsom v. Fulsom, 2003 OK 96, ¶2, 81 P.3d 652, 654. Such examination requires "a non-deferential, plenary and independent review of the trial court's legal ruling." Id.

¶5 It is undisputed (1) the Subject Property falls within the legal description of the real property identified in Ordinance No. 404 and (2) Ordinance No. 451 would prohibit the construction of Boyce's billboards if the Subject Property lies within the city limits of Grove. At issue is the interpretation of Ordinance No. 404, which provides in relevant part:

Be it ordained by the City Council of the City of Grove, Delaware County, Oklahoma:

Section 1

The ordinance then set forth the legal description of the real property involved.