Posted by: Patricia Salkin | July 29, 2017

AL Appeals Court Holds Certificate of Appropriateness Cannot be Denied Bases on Windows Not Conforming to General Character of Historic District

Editor’s Note: This summary appeared in Bond Case Briefs and is reposted with permission. See, http://bondcasebriefs.com/2017/07/25/cases/shoal-creek-land-cattle-llc-v-city-of-arab/

Purchaser of building in city’s historic district appealed historic preservation commission’s denial of its application of certificate of appropriateness after it replaced four windows in building.

After a trial, the Circuit Court upheld denial. Purchaser appealed.

On application for rehearing, the Court of Civil Appeals held that commission could not deny certificate of appropriateness application on basis that windows did not conform to general character of historic district.

Historic preservation commission could not deny certificate of appropriateness application filed by purchaser of building in city’s historic district after purchaser replaced four windows in building on basis that windows did not conform to general character of historic district. Building was classified as noncontributing building, meaning that it did not contribute to district, because exterior appearance of building had been substantially modified from its original condition, and commission’s window-design standards did not apply to noncontributing buildings.

Municipal ordinances, placing restrictions upon lawful conduct or the lawful use of property, must, in order to be valid, specify the rules and conditions to be observed in such conduct of business, and must admit of the exercise of the privilege by all citizens alike who will comply with such rules and conditions, and must not admit of the exercise, or of an opportunity for the exercise, of any arbitrary discrimination by the municipal authorities between citizens who will so comply.

A historic preservation commission cannot deny a proposed change to a building within a historic district solely on the basis of its opinion that the proposed change conflicts with the general character of the historic district, which is too vague a standard; instead, the legislature intended that a historic preservation commission can deny a proposed change to a building within a historic district based only on specific uniform standards.

Shoal Creek Land & Cattle, LLC v. City of Arab, 2017 WL 2991470 (AL App. 7/25/2017)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: