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Santini v. Lyons

ELR Citation: 13 ELR 20079
Nos. No. 80-305-M.P., 448 A.2d 124/(R.I., 07/08/1982)

The court upholds the constitutionality of Rhode Island's Coastal Resources Management Council Act and holds that the Coastal Resources Management Council's decision to deny appellant a coastal zone building permit is supported by the record. The court finds that the Act does not violate the equal protection provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Rhode Island Constitution because appellant failed to demonstrate that the legislature acted irrationally in placing a special burden on coastal landowners. The court also holds that appellant failed to prove that the Council had enforced the statute in a discriminatory manner. The Act does not violate the due process requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment because protection of water and coastal ecosystems is a valid state objective to which the Act bears a rational relationship. In addition, the court holds that the Act contains adequate notice provisions and that it was no more than harmless error for the Council to apply to appellant's case amendments to the Act and Council policies that became effective after his application has been filed. The court holds that evidence obtained on remand to the Council was properly included in the record. The court also holds that the evidence supports the Council's conclusion that appellant's development proposal would significantly damage the coastal environment. Finally, the court defers consideration of appellant's inverse condemnation claim because of the lack of evidence in the record on the issue of compensation.

Counsel for Appellant
Thomas S. Hogan, Donald J. Packer
Hogan & Hogan
201 Waterman Ave., East Providence RI 02914
(401) 421-3990

Counsel for Appellee
Dennis H. Esposito
Goldman & Biafore
72 S. Main St., Providence RI 02903
(401) 274-1300

Counsel for Amicus Curiae United States
Brian C. Cassidy; Carol E. Dinkins, Ass't Attorney General
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2701

WEISBERGER, J., did not participate.