Original language


Date of text
Type of court
National - higher court
Court name
Supreme Court
Seat of court
Reference number
Supreme Court Case No. CVA11-016
Standing, Jurisdiction, Property, Land Use, Permits, Contract, Wetlands, Taxation, Remedies, Liability
Free tags
Legal questions
Land & soil

The petitioners, Agana Beach Condominium Homeowners Association, appealed a judgment by a trial court not to grant them standing in a case regarding the approval of a split-zone change. The applicable legislation states that a property owner of split-zoned property has the right to select any one of the two zones and have it apply to the entire lot. The lessee of the property, Pangilinan, applied to the Director to change the property from split-zone to entirely commercial zone. The change was approved without any kind of notice or hearing with surrounding property owners. These measures are required when other zone changes are made. A restaurant was then constructed after obtaining a building permit. When filing the petition for writ, the trial court did not try the case because it found that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction, that the petition was not properly verified, that the case was moot and that the petitioners lacked standing. The petitioners appealed and meant that the trial court had erred on all points.

The petitioners meant that in some cases, a geographical nexus in not required, for example when environmental issues are concerned. The Court agreed with this, as environmental harm is “not contained by political lines”. The petitioners however, also claimed that they had a geographical nexus. Since the Court found that the petitioners had a geographical nexus it did not further comment on the role of harmful environmental factors.

Finally, the judgment of the trial court was reversed and remanded. On remand, the petitioners would have the right to participate in the proceedings.