Opinion from Maryland Court of Appeals
SPAW vs Annapolis
Annapolis, MD (4-13-17) The highest court in Maryland supports the City of Annapolis administrative process which requires approval before starting any alteration to the exterior of a building in the historic district.
This decision comes in the wake of an ongoing disagreement between the owner of a Maryland Avenue property and the City of Annapolis. The owner, SPAW LLC, replaced wood windows with vinyl windows without a Certificate of Approval (COA) from the Historic Preservation Commission, beginning almost five years of litigation after the City cited SPAW, LCC for municipal infractions.
“This was not about denying an owner of a property in the historic district the right to perform exterior building changes, but rather about compliance with the law of the City Code, which requires an application for a COA prior to doing exterior building work and a public hearing on the application,” Assistant City Attorney Gary Elson said. “SPAW unnecessarily exhausted City of Annapolis staff in an effort to avoid an administrative process clearly set forth in the City Code. With the recent Court of Appeals opinion, SPAW must still apply for a COA.”
Elson represented the city throughout the litigation. The chronology of the litigation, along with the opinion of the Court of Appeals, is attached.
“This not only concludes this case, but sets the standard for others who attempt to avoid the City Code process, requiring an application to the Historic Preservation Commission and approval before altering the exterior of a building in the Historic district,” Elson added.