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13.08.2014 - Borough of Merchantville v. Malik & Son, LLC - Supreme Court of New Jersey

Malik & Son, LLC owned property in the Borough of Merchantville. The Property contained a fifty-four unit apartment building and had been designated by the Borough as an area in need of redevelopment. Malik assumed a mortgage loan issued by LB-RPR REO Holdings, LLC’s (LB) predecessor, and defaulted on the loan. LB’s predecessor in interest filed a complaint to foreclose the mortgage, and Malik did not file an answer. In early 2011, the court entered a final judgment of foreclosure. LB’s predecessor in interest transferred all its rights and interest in the Property to LB the next day. Once it acquired the loan, LB had a receiver appointed for the Property and made substantial repairs to the building. In an effort to protect its interest in the Property, LB sought, and the court entered, an order that directed that Malik could not sell the Property without the express approval of the sale price by LB. Throughout 2010 and 2011, the Borough pursued a plan to redevelop the Property. The Borough designated Citadel Wellwood, LLC (Citadel) as the redeveloper of the Property, and adopted the redevelopment and rehabilitation plan for the Property. Months before Citadel was designated as the redeveloper of the Property, Citadel entered a contract to purchase it for $1,250,000. Richard DePetro, the principal of Citadel, cancelled the contract after seeking a $200,000 reduction in the purchase price due to the deteriorated condition of the building. Malik rejected the offer, citing the amount due on the LB mortgage. Prior to cancelling the contract, Citadel contacted LB and offered to purchase the Property for $1,250,000 if LB agreed to a short sale to permit satisfaction of other liens. In the course of those discussions, DePetro mentioned to LB’s representative that the Borough would probably condemn the Property. In June 2011, in response to an inquiry from an LB representative, the Borough denied any intention to condemn the Property. However, once the Borough adopted the redevelopment plan on September 26, 2011, the Borough engaged an appraiser to ascertain the fair market value of the Property. The appraiser opined that as of August 24, 2011, its fair market value was $0. He calculated that value because the cost to renovate the Property far exceeded its market value following renovation and rehabilitation. The appraiser also assigned a fair market value of $270,000 without renovations. In a letter dated November 11, 2011, the Borough offered Malik $270,000 for the Property. Malik declined the Borough's offer. That same date, LB’s attorney contacted the Borough, expressing its surprise that the Borough intended to condemn the Property and noted that the Borough’s offer was far less than the price offered by Citadel in June 2011. LB’s attorney informed the Borough that it had obtained a final judgment of foreclosure and that the Property was scheduled to be sold at Sheriff’s Sale. Noting that it would soon own the Property, LB expressed its desire to meet with the Borough to discuss reasonable compensation for the Property. In this appeal, the issue this case presented to the Supreme Court was whether N.J.S.A. 20:3-6 required a condemning authority to engage in bona fide negotiations with a mortgage holder that has obtained a final judgment of foreclosure for the property sought to be condemned. In this case, the condemning authority initiated eminent domain proceedings after the property owner rejected its offer to acquire the property, just days before the holder of the foreclosure judgment expected the property to be sold at a Sheriff’s Sale. The judgment holder contended it was the real party in interest, and that the condemning authority had an obligation to negotiate with it rather than the property owner prior to initiating condemnation proceedings. The trial court concluded that the condemning authority had properly submitted the offer to the owner of record, and the subsequent rejection of the offer satisfied the statutory requirement of bona fide negotiations prior to the exercise of eminent domain authority. The trial court also determined that the condemning authority had no obligation to advise the foreclosure judgment holder of its intention to condemn or to engage in bona fide negotiations with it. In a reported decision, the Appellate Division affirmed. The Supreme Court agreed and affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Division.

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19.07.2014 - Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States - U.S. Supreme Court

The General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of 1875 provides railroad companies “right[s] of way through the public lands of the United States,” 43 U.S.C. 934. One such right of way, created in 1908, crosses land that the government conveyed to the Brandt family in a 1976 land patent. That patent stated that the land was granted subject to the right of way, but it did not specify what would occur if the railroad relinquished those rights. A successor railroad abandoned the right of way with federal approval. The government sought a declaration of abandonment and an order quieting its title to the abandoned right of way, including the stretch across the Brandt patent. Brandt argued that the right of way was a mere easement that was extinguished upon abandonment. The district court quieted title in the government. The Tenth Circuit affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed. The right of way was an easement that was terminated by abandonment, leaving Brandt’s land unburdened. The Court noted that that the government had argued the opposite position in an earlier case. In that case, the Court found the 1875 Act’s text “wholly inconsistent” with the grant of a fee interest. An easement disappears when abandoned by its beneficiary.

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30.06.2014 - Kauai Springs, Inc. v. Planning Comm’n - Supreme Court of Hawaii

Kauai Springs, Inc., a water bottling and distribution company, filed an application for three zoning permits related to the continued operation of its water bottling facility on land located in Koloa, Kauai. The Planning Commission of the County of Kauai denied the permits, notified Kauai Springs that continued operation on the property constituted a land use violation, and ordered Kauai Springs to shut down its operations on the property. The circuit court reversed in part and vacated in part the Commissioner’s decision and order and ordered that all three permits be issued. The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) vacated the circuit court’s final judgment and remanded to the Commission for consideration of whether Kauai Springs could meet the requirements for the permits. The Supreme Court affirmed to the extent the ICA vacated the circuit court’s final judgment, holding that the Commission’s findings of fact were not erroneous, its conclusions of law were correct, and its decision to deny the permits was not arbitrary and capricious, but clarity and completeness in its decision were lacking. Remanded to the Commission to clarify its findings of fact and conclusions of law.

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25.06.2014 - Block v. City of Lewiston - Supreme Court of Idaho

In 2005, John Block purchased property in Lewiston from Jack Streibick to develop. Block submitted an application to resubdivide the property into three residential lots, which Lewiston approved. Prior to Block's purchase of the property, Lewiston issued two separate permits to Streibick allowing him to place and grade fill in the area of those lots. In 2006, Block received permits from Lewiston to construct homes on each of the three lots. During construction of the homes, Block hired engineering firms to test compaction of the finished grade for the footings on the lots. Following the construction of the homes, Lewiston issued Block certificates of occupancy for each of the homes after conducting inspections that found the homes to be constructed in accordance with applicable building codes and standards. In April 2007, Block sold the home and property at 159 Marine View Drive. In November of that year, the owner reported a crack in the home's basement. Around that same time, settling was observed at the other two properties. In early December 2007, Block repurchased 159 from the owners. He also consulted with engineers regarding options for immediate repair to the homes. As early as February 2009, further settling problems were reported at the properties. After Lewiston inspected the properties in May following a gas leak at 153, it posted notice that the residential structures on 153 and 159 were unsafe to occupy. Block ultimately filed a Notice of Claim for Damages with Lewiston that also named City Engineer Lowell Cutshaw as a defendant, but did not effectuate process on Lewiston and Cutshaw until ninety days had elapsed from the date he had filed the Notice of Claim. The City defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Block's claims should be dismissed because he failed to timely file a Notice of Claim with Lewiston. This first motion for summary judgment was denied because a question of material fact existed concerning whether Block reasonably should have discovered his claim against Lewiston prior to 2009. The City defendants filed a second motion for summary judgment seeking dismissal of all of Block's claims against them, arguing that they were immune from liability for all of these claims under the Idaho Tort Claims Act (ITCA) and that Block could not establish that he was owed a duty. The district court granted this second summary judgment motion dismissing Block's claims based on the application of the economic loss rule. The court also held that immunity under the ITCA and failure to establish a duty provided alternate grounds for dismissal of Block's claims. Block appealed on the issue of immunity. Finding no reversible error as to that issue, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court's decision.

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25.06.2014 - Shinn v. Bd of Co Comm Clearwater Co - Supreme Court of Idaho

The issue this case presented to the Supreme Court stemmed from a district court decision affirming the approval of a subdivision by the Board of County Commissioners of Clearwater County. In approving the subdivision, the Board approved three variances granted by the Clearwater County Planning and Zoning Commission with respect to the road providing access to the subdivision. A portion of the access road crossed over land owned by Edward and Donilee Shinn, who opposed the variances and petitioned the district court for judicial review. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the Board erred when it failed to make the approval of the variance application expressly contingent upon judicial resolution of the access issue. The Court remanded the case back to the district court to determine whether the Shinns' substantial rights were prejudiced by the Board's decision.

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17.06.2014 - Town of Dillon v. Yacht Club Condominiums Home Owners Association - Supreme Court of Colorado

In 2009, the Town of Dillon enacted two municipal ordinances: one authorized a local road improvement project, and another concerning parking enforcement on a public right-of-way. Owners of the Yacht Club Condominiums challenged the ordinances, arguing, among other things, that the ordinances were an unreasonable exercise of the Town's police power because they eliminated the ability of the owners' guests to use the Town's rights-of-way as overflow parking. The trial court concluded the Town's exercise of its police power was unreasonable. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court's decision. The Town appealed, and the Supreme Court reversed. The Supreme Court found that the ordinances were within the Town's police power to regulate matters of public health, safety and welfare, and reasonably related to the Town's objectives of improving traffic safety and improving water drainage

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17.06.2014 - Tarver v. Bd. of Adjustments - Supreme Court of Wyoming

Robert and Beverly Bernard sought a special exemption to operate a bed and breakfast in an area that was zoned as an R-1 Residence District. The Board of Adjustments approved the Bernards’ application, but the district court reversed because the agency failed to comply with its own rules and procedures. The Bernards subsequently filed a second application for a special exemption that differed from the first in that it included an approved parking plan and a certificate of occupancy. Timothy and Carole Tarver objected, claiming that the Bernards’ second application was barred by res judicata. The Board concluded that the second application was not barred by res judicata and granted the Bernards’ application with conditions. The Tarvers appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Bernards’ second application for a special exemption was not barred by res judicata or collateral estoppel; (2) the Board had the authority to impose parking restrictions on the bed and breakfast as a condition of granting the special exemption; and (3) the Board properly applied its discretion in concluding that the Bernards were entitled to a special exemption.

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17.06.2014 - Hartog v. City of Waterloo - Supreme Court of Iowa

The City of Waterloo agreed to transfer to a residential developer property the City originally acquired for use as a road right-of-way. Taxpaying residents of the City challenged the legality of the proposed transfer, arguing that the City failed to follow statutory procedures for the sale of unused right-of-way, including compliance with certain appraisal, notice, right-of-first refusal and public bid requirements. The district court dismissed the case, concluding that the subject property was not unused right-of-way. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the property was unused right-of-way, and therefore, the City could not sell or transfer it to the developer without first following the procedure prescribed in Iowa Code 306.23.

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17.06.2014 - Biery v. United States - U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

About 100 years ago, the then-owners of land abutting a 2.88-mile stretch of rail corridor near the City of South Hutchinson, Kansas granted deeds covering that land to the predecessor of the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway (BNSF). The corridor was used by BNSF until 2004. It was then converted to a recreational trail pursuant to the National Trail Systems Act, 16 U.S.C. 1247(d). The current owners asserted that the conversion constituted a taking and sought compensation under the Fifth Amendment. The Court of Federal Claims entered summary judgment in favor of the government, finding that none of the plaintiffs possessed a fee-simple property interest in the land underlying the rail corridor that could be the subject of a taking because the land had been conveyed to the BNSF’s predecessor in fee simple and not by easements. The Federal Circuit affirmed in part, finding that some of the land was conveyed to the BNSF’s predecessor in fee simple, but that the railroad was only granted an easement over other land. With respect to others, the issue was clouded by chain-of-title questions.

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15.06.2014 - In re Hale Mountain Fish & Game Club - Supreme Court of Vermont

Landowners appealed various proceedings involving their complaints challenging the operation of Hale Mountain Fish and Game Club. Here, they appealed the Environmental Division of the superior court's judgment that Hale Mountain was entitled to reissuance of a zoning permit for certain enumerated improvements on its property once it received site plan approval from the Town of Shaftsbury Development Review Board. Based primarily on principles of preservation and res judicata, the Supreme Court affirmed the superior court’s judgment.

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To portal www.spatialplandev.gr δημιουργήθηκε στα μέσα του 2014 από την εταιρεία Spatial Planning & Development Ε.Π.Ε.

Επιστημονικός Υπεύθυνος της προσπάθειας αυτής έχει οριστεί ο κ. Κωνσταντίνος Τσάντζαλος, Δικηγόρος Αθηνών, πτυχιούχος της Νομικής Σχολής του Εθνικού και Καποδιστριακού Πανεπιστημίου Αθηνών, κάτοχος μεταπτυχιακού τίτλου σπουδών (MSc) στο γνωστικό αντικείμενο Χωροταξίας – Πολεοδομίας – Περιφερειακής Ανάπτυξης του Τμήματος Μηχανικών Χωροταξίας, Πολεοδομίας & Περιφερειακής Ανάπτυξης της Πολυτεχνικής Σχολής του Πανεπιστημίου Θεσσαλίας και υπ. Διδάκτωρ του Τμήματος Πολιτικής Επιστήμης και Δημόσιας Διοίκησης της Σχολής Οικονομικών και Πολιτικών Σπουδών του Εθνικού και Καποδιστριακού Πανεπιστημίου Αθηνών.

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