SIENA CORPORATION, A Maryland Corporation; ROCKVILLE NORTH LAND LLLP, A Maryland Limited Liability Limited Partnership, Plaintiffs - Appellants,
MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF ROCKVILLE MARYLAND; BRIDGET NEWTON, Rockville Mayor; BERYL FEINBERG, Rockville City Council Member; VIRGINIA ONLEY, Rockville City Council Member; JANE DOE, Defendants - Appellees, and MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND, Defendant, PACIFIC LEGAL FOUNDATION, Amicus Supporting Appellant, INTERNATIONAL MUNICIPAL LAWYERS ASSOCIATION; MARYLAND ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES; CITY OF GAITHERSBURG, Amici Supporting Appellee.
Argued: September 13, 2017
from the United States District Court for the District of
Maryland, at Greenbelt. Roger W. Titus, Senior District
Thane Kasdan, KELLEY DRYE & WARREN LLP, Washington, D.C.,
Bock Karpinski, KARPINSKI, COLARESI & KARP, P.A.,
Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellees.
Bezalel A. Stern, KELLEY DRYE & WARREN LLP, Washington,
D.C., for Appellants.
Yerg Daniel, City Attorney, CITY OF ROCKVILLE, Rockville,
Maryland; Sandra D. Lee, KARPINSKI, COLARESI & KARP,
P.A., Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellees.
P. Thompson, Anastasia P. Boden, PACIFIC LEGAL FOUNDATION,
Sacramento, California, for Amicus Pacific Legal Foundation.
Erek L. Barron, WHITEFORD, TAYLOR & PRESTON LLP,
Bethesda, Maryland, for Amici International Municipal Lawyers
Association, Maryland Association of Counties, and City of
WILKINSON and NIEMEYER, Circuit Judges, and Raymond A.
JACKSON, United States District Judge for the Eastern
District of Virginia, sitting by designation.
WILKINSON, Circuit Judge
case arises from an amendment to Rockville's zoning
ordinance that prohibited the construction of self-storage
facilities within 250 feet of property on which a public
school is located. Appellants Siena Corporation and Rockville
North Land LLLP (collectively "Siena") complain
that the enactment of this amendment amounted to a denial of
their due process and equal protection rights under the
Fourteenth Amendment. These claims are yet another attempt to
circumvent the state's legitimate interest in zoning law
and land use policy. We reject the attempt and affirm the
dismissal of the action.
set out in 2013 to build an "ezStorage"
self-storage facility in Rockville, Maryland. The property it
purchased for this purpose was located at 1175 Taft Street,
immediately adjacent to the intersection of Taft and First
Streets. The property is zoned "Light Industrial, "
which at the time Siena purchased the property allowed for
its use as the site of a self-storage facility. The property
also happens to be located down the block from Maryvale
learning of Siena's plans, Rockville's residents grew
concerned that the ezStorage facility would pose a threat to
the safety of Maryvale's students. A petition opposing
the facility's construction was circulated and gathered
130 signatures. Maryvale's PTA unanimously passed a
resolution decrying the facility's construction.
attended Rockville Council meetings to voice their
opposition. They expressed a fear that the ezStorage facility
would increase traffic that would in turn threaten the safety
of the Maryvale students who crossed the intersection in
front of the facility on a daily basis. As one resident
explained, many of the items stored in self-storage
facilities were transported in "U-Haul-style trucks,
" which were not driven by professional truckers and
were "not easy to drive." J.A. 234. The residents
also worried that the facility would be used to store illegal
or hazardous materials and therefore invite crime into the
area. One speaker recounted an incident in which "12
bodies and 40 cremated remains were found in two storage
units rented by a former funeral director." J.A. 179-80.
Finally, the residents feared that the facility's
construction would release asbestos into the air, an issue