In 2000, DCW Dutchship Island, LLC (DCW), a corporation wholly owned by Daryl Wagner, purchased the Little Island in the Magothy River. At that time, the Island measured approximately 1.92 acres in area and was improved by a single-family house and related structures built in the 1920s. Wagner demolished the house and built a new one. In November 2004, the County authorities discovered the construction activities on the Island and notified DCW of numerous violations. In December, DCW sought variances from the unobserved requirements of the Critical Area Law for each of the structures and improvements on the Island. DCW sought also an amendment to the critical area buffer map, which prohibited most development activity within 100 feet of the shoreline. A County Administrative Hearing Officer heard the evidence for and against the requests for variances. The Magothy River Association (MRA) appeared at the variance hearings to oppose DCW’s requests. The Hearing Officer granted some of the variances. Wagner administratively appealed the denials, and the MRA, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), and the Maryland Critical Area Commission for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays appealed the decision to grant the variances, all to the County Board of Appeals. At the Anne Arundel County Board of Appeals (the “Board”) hearing, Wagner moved to dismiss MRA and CBF as parties to the administrative proceedings. The Board ultimately concluded that CBF did not have standing to appeal the granted variances because it did not participate in the hearing before the Administrative Hearing Officer (“AHO”). After 24 evenings of hearings on the subject, the Board revised the decision of the AHO to include certain conditions on the variances.The Maryland Critical Area Commission for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays (the Commission), MRA, CBF, and Wagner all sought judicial review of the Board’s decision at the Circuit Court. In addition, CBF filed a Motion for Summary Judgment limited to the issue of whether the Board improperly excluded CBF from the variance portion of the proceedings. The court denied all motions relevant to the variance matter. The Circuit Court then affirmed the decision of the Board. The Commission and CBF appealed the Circuit Court’s decision to the Court of Special Appeals, arguing that the Critical Area Act applied to the variance proceedings, that the Board erred in refusing to allow CBF to participate as a party in the administrative process, and that the Board did not base its decision on substantial evidence in the record. In an unreported opinion, the Court of Special Appeals rejected these arguments and affirmed the Circuit Court. MRA and CBF then petitioned the Court of Appeals for certiorari. The issues this case presented for the Court's review were: (1) whether CBF had standing to participate in the variance proceedings before the Board of Appeals on the grounds that MRA, which advocated the same position, had standing; (2) whether AACC 3-1-104(a) violated the Express Powers Act, thus making the Board’s denial of standing to CBF on the basis of it erroneous; (3) whether the Board of Appeals violated its own rules when it held that CBF could not cross-examine witnesses, resulting in CBF being denied due process; and (4) whether the Board of Appeals erred in granting Wagner after-the-fact variances. The Court answered the first three questions in the negative and the fourth in the affirmative, but only in part.
Clifton Tweedy leased property from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough since May 1988. The property included a house that was built in 1968 and located less than 18 feet from the lakeshore. When Tweedy assumed the lease, the existing structure was exempt from the Borough’s 75-foot shoreline setback ordinance because it was constructed before any setback requirement existed. Shortly after he took possession of the property, Tweedy added a stairwell on the exterior of the house. In 2010 Tweedy applied with the Borough to purchase the property. Because structures on the property were located less than 75 feet from the shoreline, the sale required an exemption from the Borough’s setback requirement. The Borough Planning Director determined that Tweedy’s addition was unlawful and that the application could not be processed until Tweedy removed it. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Board of Adjustment Appeals affirmed the Planning Director’s decision. Tweedy appealed to the superior court, which also affirmed. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court also affirmed.