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SHILLING V. JIMENEZ, 268 VA. 202, 597 S.E.2D 206, 2004 VA. LEXIS 98 (VA. 2004)

Appellant neighbors challenged the judgment of the Circuit Court of Loudoun County (Virginia), which sustained the demurrers of appellees, three subdividers, a grantor, a bank, and a trustee (the subdividers). The trial court also dismissed the bill of complaint with prejudice. The neighbors had brought a declaratory action against the subdividers asserting the wrongful approval of a subdivision and subsequent injury to their real property.

Overview
The neighbors asserted that affidavits made by the subdividers with regard to obtaining permission for the subdivision were false and that the “wrongful approval” of the subdivision had injured their property interests by permitting the construction of three houses where only one would have been otherwise permitted, by tripling traffic, water, and sewer demands, and by diminishing the privacy and seclusion of their properties. The trial court, in sustaining the demurrers, held that Loudoun County, Va., Land Subd. & Dev. Ordinance § 1242.04(1)(a) did not create a separate new cause of action and merely stated how to enforce a law regarding subdivisions, if one existed. The trial court also held that there was no law that permitted private landowners to file suit to attack an ordinance that approved a family subdivision. The court agreed and held that the trial court correctly sustained the demurrers, because the neighbors had no right of action. The court found that the clear legislative intent of § 1242.04(1)(a) and Va. Code Ann. § 15.2-2255 was to vest in a local governing body, and its authorized agents, the sole power to enforce its subdivision ordinances.

Outcome
The court affirmed the judgment.

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28+ years representing you
16,000+ clients represented
9 different states we have
appeared in
130+ jurisdictions served
1,600+ family law clients
2,000+ criminal defense clients
200+ personal injury clients
1,600+ estate planning clients

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