Oral arg. – COA – July 28, 2016 – p.m.

At 1:30, the Court of Appeals will hear the case of Michael Gaffney v. City of Richland

The City of Richland demolished a house built by Michael Gaffney at 126 Hemlock Drive when Gaffney failed to complete the house after 10 years.  Gaffney was issued building permits in 2002.  In 2012, the City ’s building official voided the earlier building permits due to lack of construction activity and ordered Gaffney to remove all personal property. Gaffney objected and the Board of Aldermen agreed to hear his objections at a meeting in August 2012 but Gaffney did not show.  The City then filed a complaint seeking permission to demolish the house.  Nevertheless, the City issued Gaffney new permits at no extra charge giving him  until mid June of 2013 to bring the building up to code.  When Gaffney failed to do do, the City filed an Amended Complaint requesting an injunction that required Gaffney to complete construction within a court-ordered deadline to be established.

The Court had a hearing  wherein it was established that Gaffney was building  the house himself and operating his power tools via an extension cord running from his house next door (instead of installing  a temporary power pole and making arrangements with the power company to supply temporary power during construction).  Gaffney complained that he had had various medical problems keeping his from finishing the project.  The Court gave Gaffney time to complete his house.  Gaffney reported he had done so.  The City inspected it that same day and found this to be untrue.  The Court then issued an order allowing the City to proceed with demolition and ordered Gaffney to pay  the City attorneys’ fees and costs in the amount of $8,232.82. Gaffney appealed.

Gaffney’s brief

Richland’s brief

Gaffney’s reply

Watch the case here

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