County Commissioners

Posted on: July 11, 2017

Judge Upholds Dismissal of Lawsuit Over Denial of KI Sewer Access

 Kevin Quinn and his company, Queen Anne’s Research and Development Corp., sued in federal court the Queen Anne’s County Commissioners over County Ordinance 13-14 and Resolution 14-07, passed as part of the southern Kent Island sewer project and intended to prevent overdevelopment of the area. Queen Anne’s Research and Development Corp., owns more than 200 lots in the area of Kentmorr and Queen Anne’s Colony.

  “County Ordinance 13-24 was enacted not to take property rights from individual property owners in the nine Southern Kent Island sanitary project communities but rather to ensure that a manageable buildout of vacant lots (1,600 reduced to a maximum of 634) occurred without negatively impacting the communities or put undue stress on county services,” said Commissioner James Moran. “Having the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals uphold this ensures that the entire project is feasible and can be completed”

 Ordinance 13-24 requires adjoining lots in same ownership zoned NC-20 (neighborhood conservation) to merge substandard lots of less than 20,000 square feet. The nine communities within the South Kent Island Sewer Project are all zoned NC-20.

 “We are grateful to the 4th Circuit’s positive ruling on this case and we want to thank Kurt Fischer, our lawyer who guided us on the crafting of County Ordinance 13-24 to ensure that it would withhold legal challenges,” said County Administrator Gregg Todd.

 Circuit Judge Wilkinson wrote the court’s opinion, “Kevin Quinn, a landowner, challenges a comprehensive plan to extend sewer service to South Kent Island and a so-called Grandfather/Merger Provision designed to limit overdevelopment of the area. He asks us to protect a speculative land investment by finding a regulatory taking as well as violations of his due process and equal protection rights. Doing so, however, would invalidate a standard zoning tool whose legitimacy was recently upheld by the Supreme Court. It would also revolutionize zoning law and “frustrate municipalities’ ability” to undertake basic land use planning. Murr v. Wisconsin, No. 15-214, slip op. at 16 (U.S. June 23, 2017). We thus affirm the district court’s dismissal of Quinn’s claims.”

 The only appeal available to the plaintiff is the U.S. Supreme Court.

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