Official's Oral Assurance Binds City

April 2005
Planning;Apr2005, Vol. 71 Issue 4, p47
Trade Publication
This article presents information related to city planning. In 2002, a neighbor complained to the city that the presence of a tree house made it difficult to sell his house. The zoning administrator determined that the structure violated the zoning ordinance. The Welches appealed his ruling to the board of aldermen, but it denied their request for a conditional use, special exemption, or designation as a nonconforming use. On appeal, the trial court reversed the board's decision. The city appealed to the supreme court. Among other arguments, the Welches contended the doctrine of equitable estoppel barred the city from ordering the tree house's removal. Equitable estoppel is the principle that a party should not be allowed to repudiate words or conduct on which another person has relied, to his detriment.


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