(Cross-posted from www.bryantlaw.net)
Remember the Ashby high-rise trial? Get ready for round two. The San Felipe high-rise is gearing up for a similar legal battle. Here’s where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, when it comes to our desire for space and our need to accommodate a fast-growing city.
How far will the bounds of nuisance law stretch in order to accommodate these types of lawsuits? In one sense, the jury has a lot of power in determining the reasonableness of new construction and the diminution of value of surrounding properties. It may all come down to voire dire—and whether one party gets a favorable jury. That’s just how it goes.
On the other hand, if the residents win (again), I would not be surprised if it prompted City Council to seriously consider adopting a comprehensive zoning ordinance. Such a measure would, I believe, curtail nuisance lawsuits related to new construction. It would also have numerous other benefits, but that is irrelevant here.
In the courtroom scene, recent successes have emboldened property owners to stand up to developers for what the owners perceive are irresponsible and senseless developments. It will be interesting to see how the law adapts to these challenges (especially through appeals) in an economy that has a reputation as a developer-friendly atmosphere.
But I think, if we are really honest, we must recognize at least a slight case of NIMBY-ism from the homeowners.