Client Successes Nov 10, 2017

City Prevails in Home Design Dispute

City of Lafayette Represented by Partners Scott Ditfurth and Mala Subramanian

City Prevails in Home Design Dispute

Best Best & Krieger LLP partners Scott Ditfurth and Mala Subramanian successfully represented the City of Lafayette in a dispute with homeowners over their proposed home building plan. In a fight that centered on maintaining views and the city’s character, the First District Court of Appeal upheld a trial court decision in the City’s favor. The court also ordered the homeowners to reimburse the City for its legal costs.
“The City Council and its commissions each take their responsibility to review and evaluate property matters, including the design of structures, seriously,” Mala said in an email to the East Bay Times, which reported on the matter on Nov. 6. “The Court of Appeal decision confirms the city’s due diligence in evaluating and ultimately denying the permit.”
At issue was a proposed 5,592-square-foot two-story English Tudor home design. The Design Review Commission originally approved the project after the homeowners agreed to reduce the structure’s height by 17 inches. But neighbors appealed to the Planning Commission, which denied the permit. The homeowners appealed to the City Council, but the City Council upheld the Commission’s decision. The homeowners sued.
“In a detailed and well-reasoned order, the trial court cited an abundance of evidence in the record supporting the council’s findings that the project is not compatible with the existing neighborhood, would negatively impact offsite views and would infringe on the privacy of neighbors,” the appellate opinion states.
The case is Woodall v. City of Lafayette, A149936.

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