DE Supreme Courtroom Finds Zoning Code Ambiguous as to Gross Ground Space Calculation

This submit was authored by Matthew Loescher, Esq.

Jack Lingo Asset Administration sought permission from the Metropolis of Rehoboth Seaside to construct an unroofed, railed walkway extending from the second flooring over the flat roof to a stairway main all the way down to Christian Avenue. The exit walkway wouldn’t be seen from the principle thoroughfare. The Metropolis denied Lingo’s utility, discovering that the railings surrounding the walkway would technically increase the Gross Ground Space (or “GFA”) of 240 Rehoboth Avenue beneath Part 270 of the Code of Rehoboth Seaside. This enlargement in GFA would require Lingo to offer an extra parking spot, which it had no room to do. Lingo appealed the denial, the Board of Adjustment of the Metropolis of Rehoboth Seaside affirmed, and the Superior Courtroom agreed.

On enchantment, Lingo argued the essential time period on this case, “exterior partitions”, could also be naturally understood to discuss with the outer surfaces of a constructing that connects flooring to ceilings. Underneath this definition, the time period didn’t cowl the walkway railing proposed by Lingo. After beforehand decoding “exterior partitions” equally to how Lingo does on this enchantment, the Board argued that “the plain language of the Zoning Code unambiguously encompassed decks and stairways throughout the GFA.” The court docket discovered that the Zoning Code in impact when Lingo sought its allow didn’t outline “exterior partitions,” and Lingo provided commonsense, pure studying of the time period that didn’t cowl the railings at concern in its proposal. As a result of the court docket resolves zoning ambiguities in favor of the property proprietor, the Board’s determination was reversed.

Jack Lingo Asset Administration, LLC v Board of Adjustment of the Metropolis of Rehoboth Seaside, 2022 WL 2813781 (DE 7/19/2022)

Scroll to Top