Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Szabo v. Municipality of Anchorage

Supreme Court of Alaska

March 7, 2014

DAVID SZABO AND JANE SZABO, Appellants,
v.
MUNICIPALITY OF ANCHORAGE, Appellee

Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Third Judicial District, Anchorage, John Suddock, Judge. Superior Court No. 3AN-08-09925 CI.

Kenneth P. Jacobus, Anchorage, for Appellant.

Dean Gates, Assistant Municipal Attorney, and Dennis A. Wheeler, Municipal Attorney, Anchorage, for Appellee.

Before: Fabe, Chief Justice, Winfree, Stowers, Maassen, and Bolger, Justices.

OPINION

Page 810

STOWERS, Justice.

I. INTRODUCTION

In February 2010 the superior court issued a final order requiring David and Jane Szabo to pay $311,000 in unpaid fines assessed by the Municipality of Anchorage for failing to remove junk stored on their property. The Szabos did not appeal the order. In February 2011 they filed an Alaska Civil Rule 60(b) motion for relief from judgment. The superior court denied the motion and also denied a subsequent motion for reconsideration. The Szabos now appeal, arguing that the fines assessed in this case are unconstitutionally excessive and the municipal code provision under which the Municipality proceeded proceeded is unconstitutional. Because we conclude that the Szabos' claims do not assert a basis for relief under any section of Rule 60(b), we affirm.

II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

David and Jane Szabo own approximately 1.5 acres in the Bear Valley neighborhood of

Page 811

Anchorage. David runs a junk [1] business out of their home. The Szabos' property has been zoned R-6 -- " low-density residential" [2] -- during the entire time they have owned the property. Storage yards and outdoor warehousing are not permitted in an R-6 district.[3]

In the summer of 2002 the Municipality of Anchorage (the Municipality) received a complaint that the Szabos were using their property as a " Junk/Salvage Yard." The Municipality investigated the complaint and determined that it was well-founded. On August 29, 2002, the Municipality sent the Szabos a letter informing them that the property was not compliant with the zoning code and requiring that they remove the junk within 10 days or face a $300 fine. The Municipality subsequently worked with David to encourage him to clean up the junk, but the Szabos made little progress over the next few months. The Municipality inspected the property in May 2003. The inspection revealed 24 vehicles, numerous car parts, construction materials, plumbing supplies, electric parts, various metal materials, electronics, and other household items.

In August 2003 the Municipality issued an enforcement order requiring the Szabos to bring their property into compliance by October 15, 2003, and informing them that the Municipality could assess fines of up to $250 per day if they failed to do so. The Szabos attempted to appeal the zoning decision, but they failed to submit the required $500 filing fee and their appeal was rejected. It is undisputed that they did not attempt to correct their mistake.

In May 2004, after the Municipality sent the Szabos another noncompliance letter, David began working with the Municipality, developing a plan to clean up the property by October. Two days after the October deadline, David admitted the cleanup was not complete and asked for more time to show substantial progress. The Municipality assessed a one-day $250 fine but reached a new agreement with David involving inspections aimed at avoiding further fines. Over the next several months the Szabos made incremental progress removing the junk. But in January 2005 the Municipality received reports that the Szabos had brought additional junk onto their property.

In August 2006, after observing no progress in the cleanup effort, the Municipality informed the Szabos that it would resume assessing fines for noncompliance. The Municipality assessed $2,500 in fines on October 31, November 13, and November 29, each for ten-day increments of noncompliance. On June 27, 2008, the Municipality assessed a ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.