C. HAYWARD CHAPMAN and JACQUELINE CHAPMAN, Appellants,
TOWN OF REDINGTON BEACH, FLORIDA and DOUGLAS BACKMAN, Appellees.
FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
from the Circuit Court for Pinellas County; Thomas H.
Tomassi and Eric S. Koenig of Trenam, Kemker, Scharf, Barkin,
Frye, O'Neill & Mullis, P.A., Tampa, for Appellants.
Daigneault and Randy Mora of Trask Daigneault, LLP,
Clearwater, for Appellee Town of Redington Beach.
Richard E. Fee, Kathleen M. Wade, Jillian L. Feltham, and
Catherine F. Yant of Fee & Jeffries, P.A., Tampa, for
Appellee Douglas Backman.
Hayward Chapman and Jacqueline Chapman sued the Town of
Redington Beach and their neighbor, Douglas Backman, over a
series of improvements Mr. Backman made to his property that
the Chapmans say violated the Town's zoning ordinances.
The trial court rendered separate final summary judgments in
favor of the Town and Mr. Backman. We affirm the judgment in
favor of the Town without comment. But because Mr. Backman
failed to show that he was entitled to summary judgment on
the theory the Chapmans have not suffered special damages to
support their standing to enforce the Town's zoning
ordinances, we reverse the judgment in favor of Mr. Backman
and remand for further proceedings.
Chapmans and Mr. Backman own neighboring beachfront
properties. On January 18, 2016, the Chapmans filed a second
amended complaint against the Town and Mr. Backman in which
they describe numerous modifications that Mr. Backman has
made to his property and allege that each violates a Town
zoning ordinance. It also alleges that the Chapmans have
suffered special damages because their property is
"materially less safe and materially less valuable due
to these violations." The complaint asks for declaratory
judgment that the improvements violate Town ordinances and
seeks supplemental and injunctive relief, including the
removal of the improvements. See §§
86.021, .061, Fla. Stat. (2015). As relevant here, the
complaint identifies three violations for which the Chapmans
seek relief; the complaint calls them the "accessory
structure," the "safety sight triangle," and
accessory structure is a former workshop which Mr. Backman
has partially renovated. According to the Chapmans, Mr.
Backman got a permit to add a second story to the structure,
but the permit was wrongfully issued because the value of the
renovations exceeded fifty percent of the original value of
the structure. The complaint also alleges that the permitted
renovations have been abandoned because Mr. Backman has
ceased constructing them.
safety sight triangle refers to what the complaint alleges to
be a hazardous traffic situation caused by Mr. Backman's
construction of a wall along the roadway to which the
Chapmans' driveway connects. According to the Chapmans,
this wall blocks the view of oncoming traffic from the
Chapmans' driveway, thus making it dangerous to exit the
driveway and posing a danger both to the Chapmans and to
others driving, riding, or walking on the road. The Chapmans
also allege that this wall was improperly constructed, as it
exceeds the height limit imposed by Town ordinance.
hedge is a growth of vegetation along the ocean-facing side
of Mr. Backman's property. The complaint alleges that it
violates a Town ordinance because it is too tall and violates
their littoral rights because it obstructs their view of the
ocean. It also asserts that the obstructed view negatively
affects the Chapmans' property value.
defendants moved for summary judgment. The Town argued that
it was not a proper party to the suit because (1) the
Chapmans were not seeking the validation or construction of
an ordinance and (2) a court decree compelling the Town to
enforce its zoning ordinances would violate the doctrine of
separation of powers. The trial court agreed with the
separation of powers argument and granted summary judgment to
the Town. Based on the arguments presented in this appeal, we
find no error in that determination and affirm the summary
judgment in favor of the Town.
Backman's motion for summary judgment argued that the
Chapmans lacked standing to enforce the Town's zoning
ordinances because they had not suffered special damages-a
peculiar injury that differed in the type of harm, rather
than merely the degree of harm, suffered by the community as
a whole as a result of the ordinance violation. He asserted
that (1) the Chapmans failed to allege any damages stemming
from the accessory structure and thus failed to allege the
peculiar injury required for standing; (2) by alleging that
the safety sight triangle was a hazard to others in the
community, the Chapmans failed to allege that the safety
sight triangle caused any injury that was peculiar to them;
and (3) the hedge did not violate the Chapmans' littoral
rights because the Chapmans' property is not littoral
property and the Chapmans are not entitled to an ...