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

This publish was authored by Matthew Loescher, Esq.

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

On attraction, Lingo argued the crucial time period on this case, “exterior partitions”, could also be naturally understood to confer with the outer surfaces of a constructing that connects flooring to ceilings. Below 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 attraction, 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 common sense, pure studying of the time period that didn’t cowl the railings at difficulty in its proposal. As a result of the court docket resolves zoning ambiguities in favor of the property proprietor, the Board’s resolution was reversed.

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