A few well-connected neighbors have colluded for years to stop a Laguna Beach property owner from building on the last vacant lot in their neighborhood. Sacramento attorney Tim Kassouni is now taking the case to California’s Court of Appeal.
For Immediate Release – Sacramento, CA – January 12, 2017: Experienced California property attorney, Tim Kassouni, has a unique case on his hands. Mike Czajkowski and his wife have tried for over a decade to obtain approval to build a home on a small, yet expensive, parcel of land they own in Laguna Beach. The proposed development is comparable in size, materials, and design to other houses in the neighborhood; meets all objective zoning and building code criteria; and poses no environmental concerns.
Under the Laguna Beach Municipal Code, however, home plans must first be approved by a design review board, and that’s when problems started for the Czajkowskis. It seems that this is the last empty lot on the block, and the current neighbors would prefer it remains that way. So when the Czajkowskis applied for a building permit, the neighbors came out in force to oppose the project.
Over the years, Czajkowski submitted over a half dozen plans for his home. Each time, the board said the home’s design was incompatible with the neighborhood and needed to be altered. The landowners made the requested changes and tried again, but the answer was always the same. Frustrated by the seemingly-unreasonable delays, the Czajkowskis turned to California property attorney, Tim Kassouni, for help.
“The equal protection clauses of the United States and California Constitutions protect private property owners from arbitrary discrimination,” asserts Kassouni. “Cities can deny a building permit for many reasons, but a person cannot be denied the right to build his home simply because his neighbors don’t like him.”
This year, however, the Orange County Superior Court found that Laguna Beach’s arbitrary discrimination against the Czajkowskis was constitutional. Kassouni is now bringing the case to California’s Third Court of Appeal. “The United States Supreme Court recognized that vague laws granting broad discretion lead to arbitrary enforcement,” concluded Kassouni. “We’re going to take this to the highest power possible to ensure that the demands of a few well-connected neighbors in Laguna Beach don’t override the legal rights of a couple that simply wants to build a home.”
About Kassouni Law: Kassouni Law is a leading California land use law firm, with offices in Sacramento and Los Angeles. The firm’s California Constitutional property rights attorneys consult and litigate on a wide range of land use matters including takings, inverse condemnation, eminent domain, easement, trespass, permitting, zoning, and development. Visit the website at https://www.kassounilaw.com/ to learn more about the firm’s focus on real estate law. Call 877-770-7379 for additional information on property law in California.