Felkay v. City of Santa BarbaraAnnotate this Case
Before seeking damages for a governmental taking of property through inverse condemnation, the property owner must generally submit more than one proposal to the permitting authority seeking zoning variances or reducing environmental impacts to the extent necessary to allow at least some economically beneficial or productive use of the property. In this case, the Court of Appeal held that multiple applications are not required where the permit denial makes clear that no development of the property would be allowed under any circumstance.
The court affirmed the trial court's judgment and fee award in this inverse condemnation action. In this case, the trustee submitted plans to build an ocean-front residential property, but the planning commission rejected the development permit. The court concluded that substantial evidence established that the city would not permit any development below the 127-foot elevation, and that the limited area above that elevation was unbuildable. Therefore, submission of an additional application would have been futile. Furthermore, substantial evidence establishes that it would have been futile to submit modified plans because the agency's decision was certain to be adverse. Finally, the court rejected the city's contention that the trustee failed to litigate his writ petition to conclusion because he did not argue the Public Resources Code section 30010 claim in those proceedings.