Case Caption: Delia Thomas, et al. v. Virgin Islands Board of Land Use Appeals, et al.Case Number: S. Ct. Civ. No. 2013-0001Date: 02/24/2014Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: Summary:

In an appeal by neighboring landowners challenging construction of a church pursuant to a Coastal Zone Management permit issued by the Virgin Islands Board of Land Use Appeals, orders of the Superior Court dismissing the claims and entering summary judgment in favor of the church are affirmed. The Superior Court correctly determined that 12 V.I.C. § 913(b)(2) governed the action for declaratory relief because the plaintiffs were asking the court to compel the Board to perform its statutory duty. It also correctly dismissed their untimely writ of review, the late filing of which could not be excused. Consistent with longstanding Virgin Islands law, restrictive covenants are narrowly construed in promotion of the free use of land, and the provisions of § 4.1 of the Restatement (Third) of Property: Servitudes on this topic are rejected. Under the proper standard, the restrictive covenant at issue in the present litigation does not prohibit the construction of a church. Therefore, the Superior Court's August 3, 2009 and November 30, 2012 Orders dismissing these claims and awarding summary judgment to the church are both affirmed.

Attachment: Open Document or Opinion