In Dryden Oaks, LLC v. San Diego County Regional Airport Authority et al.(D068161, filed 9/26/17, publication order 10/19/17), the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District held that the County of San Diego (County) and the San Diego Regional Airport Authority (Authority) were entitled to summary judgment on a developer’s “disguised taking” theory of inverse condemnation.
In 2001, the developer purchased two large lots (designated Lot 24 and Lot 25) adjacent to the end of a runway at the Palomar Airport in Carlsbad. Plaintiff obtained the necessary permits from the City of Carlsbad and successfully completed construction of an industrial building on Lot 24 in 2005. However, the plaintiff never began development of Lot 25 and the building permit for the property expired in 2012. The developer was then unable to renew the building permit because the Authority had adopted the Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan (ALUCP) in the interim period, which reclassified the Lots as part of a Runway Protection Zone (RPZ). The developer received a letter explaining that “despite the earlier approval the proposed development was no longer feasible because the ALUCP was more restrictive than the prior compatibility plan and the application's proposed use of ‘research and development’ was not permissible.”