Standard of Review - Administrative Procedures Act


Stoneridge Homes, Inc. v. Alabama State Board for Registration of Architects, [Ms. 2171113, Mar. 1, 2019] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2019). The court (Thompson, P.J.; Moore, Donaldson, and Hanson, JJ. concur; Edwards, J., concurs specially) affirms the Montgomery Circuit Court’s judgment affirming a decision of the Alabama State Board for Registration of Architects (the Board). The court first considered the applicable standard of review when a party files a complaint in circuit court for declaratory relief with regard to an agency rule under § 41-22-10, Ala. Code 1975, and simultaneously seeks review of a declaratory ruling by the state agency pursuant to § 41-22-11(a). The court held that in such scenarios, the circuit court is “restricted to performing a judicial review of the agency decision pursuant to § 41-22-20(k), Ala. Code 1975, which affords the agency’s decision a presumption of correctness.” Ms. *13.

On the merits, the court rejected the developer’s contention that the Board’s regulation expanded improperly on § 34-2-32(b) Ala. Code 1975 by adding the word “detached” to the phrase single family residence. The court held “we agree with the Board’s conclusion that, if two or more dwellings are joined in a building, the building becomes a multi-family dwelling. Thus, a ‘single-family residence building,’ as described in § 34-2-32(b), is, by necessity, a detached single-family residence as stated in the regulation.” Ms. *18.

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