Lawrence v. Jones

In Lawrence v. Jones, 199 Ariz. 446, 449, P 7, 18 P.3d 1245, 1248 (App. 2001), the Court attempted to harmonize the "broad construction" legislative directive found in 19-111 with the existing case law mandating "strict construction." There, a landowner applied for and received approval to rezone his land. The landowner argued that the opponents' subsequent referendum petition was invalid because "the attachment of the zoning map to the petition was insufficient to meet the requirement of a 'legal description' of the property pursuant to A.R.S. section 19-121(E)." Lawrence, 199 Ariz. at 448, P 3, 18 P.3d at 1247. In analyzing the threshold issue, the Court stated that "in harmonizing these two standards, we believe that we may not excuse the failure to include a 'legal description of the property' because it is strictly required by the statute. However, we must broadly construe the definition of that requirement in determining whether compliance was achieved." Id. at 450, P 9, 18 P.3d at 1249. Accordingly, we broadly construed the requirement that a referendum petition contain a "legal description" of the property and held that the inclusion of the zoning map satisfied the requirement. Id. at 452-53, PP 15-16, 18 P.3d at 1251-52. The Court reasoned that the map furthered the intent of the legislature - it assisted petition signers in learning about the parcel of land being rezoned. Id. at 452, P 14, 18 P.3d at 1251.