April v. City of Broken Arrow

775 P.2d 1347 (1989)

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April v. City of Broken Arrow

Oklahoma Supreme Court
775 P.2d 1347 (1989)

Facts

Paul April (plaintiff) purchased 40 acres of undeveloped agricultural land in the City of Broken Arrow (the city) for investment purposes. The land was located within a 100-year flood plain of Haikey Creek and its tributaries (the creek). April’s property was subject to flooding after heavy rains. In 1975, April requested single-family zoning for his property. The city approved the zoning, which would have theoretically allowed for 120 homes. The city required that April build all house pads at least one foot above the creek flood line. April applied for his property to be rezoned several times to accommodate higher-density housing, but his applications were denied by the city each time. In 1978, the city enacted the Flood Damage Protection Ordinance and the Earth Change Resolution Ordinance (the ordinances), which regulated the development of land in the creek flood plain and excavation and earth modifications throughout the municipality. April initiated a reverse-condemnation suit, alleging that the city’s adoption of the ordinances and limitation of his property to flood-tolerant land uses resulted in the appropriation of April’s property for general public use as a detention pond as part of a municipal stormwater drainage system. The city argued that the ordinances regulating the general use of land within the flood plain did not amount to exercising domain and control over April’s property. The jury found in favor of April. The city appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Doolin, J.)

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