Beachfront Mansions

The 11th Circuit ruled against a Palm Beach, Florida, homeowner who wanted to knock down his traditional beachfront mansion and build a larger house in a midcentury modern style but was denied a permit by the town’s architectural review commission. The plaintiff claimed the denial violated his First Amendment rights, but the court found there was no “great likelihood that some sort of message would be understood by those” who viewed his new house.

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Roundwood Manor

An appeals court in Ohio ruled that the owner of a 55,000 square foot mansion in Hunting Valley should have the opportunity to introduce additional evidence in her dispute challenging a zoning commission’s denial of her request for a special-use permit to turn the house into condominiums. The historic Roundwood Manor was the home of railroad barons Oris Paxton Van Sweringen and Mantis James Van Sweringen, who developed Shaker Heights, Ohio.

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Firearms Permits

n appeals court in California upheld the denial of a sheriff’s department captain’s motion to disqualify the Santa County District Attorney’s Office from prosecuting him on charges alleging he was a co-conspirator in a scheme in which members of the department issued concealed firearms permits in exchange for donations to a committee supporting the sheriff’s reelection campaign.

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Light Rail

The Fourth Circuit upheld a ruling that found the Army Corps of Engineers properly granted a permit to Maryland to allow it to release certain pollutants into nearby wetlands and waterways during the construction of the Purple Line light rail. The lower court found that the impacts of the line are “quite minor.”

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Event Permits

Two anti-abortion activists failed to establish a violation of their constitutional rights in their suit against the city of Huntsville, Alabama, challenging the city’s permit ordinance and noise provision in its special event permits, the Eleventh Circuit ruled. The activists didn’t prove that the provision “left them without ample alternative channels of communication.”

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