Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Anderson v. City of Issaquah case brief

Anderson v. City of Issaquah case brief summary
851 P.2d 744 (1993)

Appellant property owner filed a claim against defendant city because the city denied his application for a land use certification to develop his property. The property owner argued to the King County Superior Court (Washington) that the building design requirements in the municipal code were unconstitutionally vague, which was rejected. The property owner appealed.

Property owner applied to the city for a land use certification to develop property. The property was zoned for general commercial use. After obtaining the architectural plans, property owner submitted the project to the various city departments for the necessary approval. Property owner went to the city development commission that was created to administer and enforce the city's land use regulations. The commission had the authority to approve or deny applications for land use certificates. Numerous objectives were set forth in the code. At the meeting, members told him that his plans did not fit with the concept of the surrounding area. When the property owner asked for clarification of what they wanted, he was refused, and his application was denied. The property owner appealed the adverse ruling to the city council and they adopted the commission's denial. The property owner argued that the code was unconstitutionally vague and the court agreed.

The court held that the code sections did not give effective or meaningful guidance to applicants, design professionals, or to the public officials who were responsible for enforcing the code.

The court held that the building design provisions of the municipal code were unconstitutionally vague and that the city's affirmative defenses lacked merit but were not frivolous. The court reversed the judgment and granted judgment in favor of the property owner.

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