Sunday, July 09, 2006

1st DCA to DEP - Rebuilding is Not Reconstruction

In Atlantis at Perdido Ass'n et al v. Warner & DEP et al, here's the link, the 1st DCA in an another show of judicial rejection of "reaching" agency interpretations of a statute, rejected the DEP granting of a CCCL permit for a 9 story condo that was to replace an existing duplex and quadruplex on two adjoining lots.

Key issue was how seaward the new building was compared to the "line of construction" and the agency's application of a provision for the rebuilding of structures in their existing footprints or landward of them. Essential DEP granted the permit for the new structures based on the "rebuild" language and the court rejected it because the new structure is completely different than the existing structures on the properties.

What we don't know is whether the property is buildable at all if the new construction must conform to the newer line of construction for the adjoining property. If zoning allows a nine story, fifteen unit condo, but the state statute and rules effectively prohibit anything other than the rebuilding of the duplex and quadruplex - one would start wondering whether any of the rules or statutes have been amended since 1995 such that Bert Harris liability might attach.

OTOH - the entire property was overwashed during Ivan. We don't know from the opinion what happened to the neighboring properties, and whether the state construction standards were sufficient to protect the structures from heavy damage.

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