Baird v. City of BurlingtonAnnotate this Case
This case concerns appellants Sandra Baird and Jared Carter's standing to challenge the City of Burlington's recently adopted “Church Street Marketplace District trespass authority” ordinance (trespass ordinance). The Marketplace District is a quasi-public entity organized in 1979 pursuant to the Burlington city charter. It includes member businesses that pay for membership through extra tax assessments and/or membership payments and it is overseen by a Marketplace Commission, a private organization consisting of nine members with an Executive Director. Despite having the character of an outdoor pedestrian mall, Church Street is nevertheless a public right-of-way and is accessible to the public twenty-four hours a day. Thus, all state criminal statutes, rules of criminal procedure, and city ordinances apply within the Marketplace District. Appellants Sandra Baird, a social activist and adjunct college professor, and Jared Carter, an adjunct law professor, are Burlington residents and licensed Vermont attorneys. Both appellants pay real property taxes to the City as well as municipal sales tax on purchases in the city. Appellants also frequent Church Street and have been opposed to the trespass ordinance since its inception. Although appellant Carter has alleged that he was threatened with enforcement of the trespass ordinance on one occasion, neither appellant has in fact received a Marketplace District notice of trespass. appellant Baird filed a complaint against the City for declaratory and injunctive relief, which appellant Carter later joined, claiming that the trespass ordinance was both unconstitutional and ultra vires. In response, the City filed a motion to dismiss for lack of standing, citing that neither Baird nor Carter had been directly injured by the ordinance. After a one-day hearing, the trial court granted the City’s motion to dismiss based on lack of standing and subject matter jurisdiction. Appellants Sandra Baird and Jared Carter appeal a final judgment by the Vermont Superior Court, Chittenden Unit, Civil Division, granting appellee City of Burlington’s (the City) motion to dismiss for lack of standing and subject matter jurisdiction. We affirm.