Justia Delaware Court of Chancery Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Zoning, Planning & Land Use
New Castle Cty. v. Pike Creek Recreational Servs., LLC
The County moved for partial summary judgment, asking the court to uphold alleged land use restrictions created by two agreements (collectively, the "Master Plan") that were executed to govern the development of Pike Creek Valley. The Master Plan prevented PCRS from developing any portion of approximately 177 acres that once operated as a golf course. The court concluded that the Master Plan created a restrictive covenant on the golf course that runs with the land; PCRS had not met its burden of demonstrating that mandamus should lie here; and PCRS could not avoid the applicable County approval processes via the presumption statute, res judicata, collateral estoppel, or by claiming violations of constitutional guarantees. Accordingly, the court denied the interested parties' motion to intervene; granted in part the County's motion for summary judgment; granted in part PCRS' motion for summary judgment; and dismissed the petition for a writ of mandamus. View "New Castle Cty. v. Pike Creek Recreational Servs., LLC" on Justia Law
Murray v. Town of Dewey Beach
Plaintiffs challenged the Town's actions in regards to a Mutual Agreement and Release (MAR) for the redevelopment of Ruddertowne, primarily upon the bases that they constituted impermissible contract zoning and that the MAR, the Building Permit, and the Record Plat Plan (together, the Challenged Documents) violated numerous aspects of the Town's zoning, building, and land use regulations. Defendants moved to dismiss, arguing that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction and that plaintiffs lacked standing to bring suit. The court concluded that the Complaint was filed after the period provided for in the applicable statute of repose, 10 Del. C. 8126. As for the Building Inspector's approval and issuance of the Building Permit, the court concluded that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction because an adequate remedy at law was available to plaintiffs. Therefore, the court granted defendants' motions to dismiss. The Town's motion to strike, which was rendered moot, was denied.View "Murray v. Town of Dewey Beach" on Justia Law
Farmers for Fairness v. Kent County Levy Court
This matter involved the adoption of a land use comprehensive plan by the Kent County Levy Court. Petitioners, landowners, argued that the ordinance adopting the plan worked a zoning change on their properties because, pursuant to the land use map incorporated in the plan, the density of the permissible development of the properties was significantly reduced. Petitioners alleged numerous violations of constitutional and statutory law arising of the alleged downzoning of the properties. The county moved to dismiss, arguing that the matter was not ripe for adjudication because the plan and land use map were planning documents only and did not change Petitioners' property rights. The Chancery Court denied the motion to dismiss, holding (1) because land use maps have the force of law, and the county may not permit development of the properties except in conformity with the new land use map, Petitioners had suffered a diminution in their ability to develop the properties, assuming the factual allegation of their petition were true; and (2) therefore, Petitioners' allegations were ripe for consideration. View "Farmers for Fairness v. Kent County Levy Court" on Justia Law
Posted in: Delaware Court of Chancery, Government & Administrative Law, Real Estate & Property Law, Zoning, Planning & Land Use
Makitka, Jr., et al. v. New Castle County Council, et al.
This case involved a challenge to the New Castle County Council's approval of the record plan for a housing development. The development was the joint effort of two record owners of individual parcels: the limited liability companies, Robinson Investments, LLC, and Robinson Investments Two, LLC. Plaintiffs, however, did not name Robinson Investments, LLC, as a party, and defendants moved to dismiss because of plaintiffs' failure to join an indispensable party. Because of the time limitations embodied in 10 Del. C. 8126, joinder of Robinson Investments, LLC, was not precluded. Therefore, if Robinson Investments, LLC, was an indispensable party, the action would be dismissed with prejudice. Consequently, the court found that Robinson Investments, LLC, was an indispensable party to the action and granted defendants' motion to dismiss. View "Makitka, Jr., et al. v. New Castle County Council, et al." on Justia Law
Osbourne v. City of Wilmington
This case involved the adoption and implementation of a redevelopment plan in South Wilmington known as the South Walnut Street Urban Renewal Plan (SWURP). Plaintiffs, property owners in the SWURP area, sought a permanent injunction and declaratory judgment finding that the SWURP and ordinances adopting the 2007 and 2009 amendments to the SWURP were legally invalid, and prohibiting their application. The City of Wilmington argued as a preliminary matter that there was no justiciable controversy, and moreover, even if there was a justiciable controversy, the SWURP was amended in 2009 and did not impose unlawful overlay zoning. The court concluded that, assuming that a justiciable controversy existed, the SWURP did not impose unlawful overlay zoning. Therefore, summary judgment was granted in favor of the city and plaintiffs' claims were dismissed without prejudice. View "Osbourne v. City of Wilmington" on Justia Law
Posted in: Constitutional Law, Delaware Court of Chancery, Real Estate & Property Law, Zoning, Planning & Land Use
Service Corporation of Westover Hills v. Guzzetta, et al.
This dispute arose from a preliminary injunction preventing defendants from demolishing a house on property they purchased in the Westover Hills Section C housing development and converting it to a grassy play area for their children. The court subsequently denied a permanent injunction and awarded defendants damages in the full amount of the accompanying injunction bond. Defendants appealed the amount of the bond and the related damages award. After careful consideration of the parties' arguments, briefs and supporting submissions, the court decided to set the injunction bond at $26,353 and, if necessary, to hold an evidentiary hearing promptly to determine defendants' damages. View "Service Corporation of Westover Hills v. Guzzetta, et al." on Justia Law