Custom Search
CivicLifeSportsSchoolsBusinessFoodOur HomesLetters/OpinionsCalendar

Published November 15th, 2017
Lafayette denial of big home remodel upheld in court; plaintiff to pay costs
The Woodalls' plans for a large two-story, Tudor-style mansion were found to be incompatible with the character of this Hilltop Drive neighborhood in Happy Valley. Photo Pippa Fisher

The Court of Appeal of the State of California announced its decision on Nancy and Michael Woodall's lawsuit over their denied plans to build an English-style mansion in favor of the city of Lafayette and furthermore ruled that the city is entitled to recover all costs.
The court's decision, announced Oct. 26, follows several years of wrangling over the Woodalls' plans to demolish their existing single-story 4,111 square-foot ranch home and replace it with a two-story construction of a 5,595 square-foot Tudor-style country house featuring steeply pitched roof lines in the Happy Valley Dell subdivision of Lafayette.
Despite changes made to the plans when first presented in 2013, including bringing the proposed roof height down by 17 inches and an initial approval from the Design Review Commission, both the Planning Commission and the City Council agreed with the many neighbors who appealed on the grounds that the project was not compatible with the mostly smaller, single-story ranch homes in the neighborhood and would reduce views of adjacent properties. The proposal was denied.
The Woodalls brought the lawsuit against the city of Lafayette, arguing that the council's decision was not supported by substantial evidence.
The court, finding in favor of the decision made by the city, ordered the plaintiff to reimburse the city for all of its costs to defend the case, approximately $15,000, which as Lafayette City Manager Steve Falk points out, should serve as a deterrent to others who would file frivolous lawsuits against the city.
"Those costs are substantive and, since they were funded by taxpayers, this is a win for the city and for all Lafayette residents," said Falk.
"We were very pleased with the decision," commented Lafayette City Attorney Mala Subramanian. "The city council and its commissions each take their responsibility to review and evaluate property matters, including the design of structures, seriously. The Court of Appeal decision confirms the city's due diligence in evaluating and ultimately denying the permit."

print story

Before you print this article, please remember that it will remain in our archive for you to visit anytime.
download pdf
(use the pdf document for best printing results!)
Send your comment to:
Reach the reporter at:

This article was published on Page A3:

Quick Links for LamorindaWeekly.com
send artwork to:
Classified ads
Lamorinda Service Directory
About us and How to Contact us
Letter to the Editor
Send stories or ideas to:
Send sports stories and photos to:
Subscribe to receive a delivered or mailed copy
Subscribe to receive storylinks by email
Our Homes
Copyright Lamorinda Weekly, Moraga CA