KEVIN QUINN; QUEEN ANNE'S RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Plaintiffs - Appellants,
THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS FOR QUEEN ANNE'S COUNTY, MARYLAND; QUEEN ANNE'S COUNTY SANITARY COMMISSION; PH.D ROBERT M. SUMMERS; MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT, Defendants - Appellees.
Argued: May 9, 2017
from the United States District Court for the District of
Maryland, at Baltimore. George L. Russell, III, District
G. Sommer, GALLAGHER EVELIUS & JONES LLP, Baltimore,
Maryland, for Appellants.
James Fischer, VENABLE LLP, Baltimore, Maryland; Nancy W.
Young, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MARYLAND, Baltimore,
Maryland for Appellees.
Anatoly Smolkin, GALLAGHER EVELIUS & JONES LLP,
Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellants.
Neill Thupari, VENABLE LLP, Baltimore, Maryland, for
Appellees Board of County Commissioners for Queen Anne's
County, Maryland and Queen Anne's County Sanitary
Commission. Brian E. Frosh, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MARYLAND, Baltimore, Maryland, for
Appellees Maryland Department of the Environment and Robert
M. Summers, Ph.D.
WILKINSON, TRAXLER, and AGEE, Circuit Judges.
by published opinion. Judge Wilkinson wrote the opinion, in
which Judge Traxler and Judge Agee joined.
WILKINSON, Circuit Judge:
Quinn, a landowner, challenges a comprehensive plan to extend
sewer service to South Kent Island and a so-called
Grandfather/Merger Provision designed to limit
overdevelopment of the area. He asks us to protect a
speculative land investment by finding a regulatory taking as
well as violations of his due process and equal protection
rights. Doing so, however, would invalidate a standard zoning
tool whose legitimacy was recently upheld by the Supreme
Court. It would also revolutionize zoning law and
"frustrate municipalities' ability" to
undertake basic land use planning. Murr v.
Wisconsin, No. 15-214, slip op. at 16 (U.S. June 23,
2017). We thus affirm the district court's dismissal of
and his company Queen Anne's Research own undeveloped
land on South Kent Island, a community in Queen Anne's
County, Maryland. Beginning in the 1950s, land speculators
purchased thousands of small lots on the island. Between 1984
and 2002, Quinn bought over 200 of these undeveloped lots on
South Kent Island. Quinn built homes on some of the lots and
hoped to develop the rest.
development plans were delayed because his lots could not
accommodate septic systems. South Kent Island had no sewer
service, so every home required the construction of a septic
system. Unfortunately, the soil on the island was not
well-suited to septic systems, especially those built on
small lots. Shortly after Quinn began buying land, the
requirements for a septic system were tightened, forcing him,
as he described in an affidavit, "to wait on his
development plans until sewer was available on South Kent
Island." J.A. 280.
requirements also limited the construction of new septic
systems, and thus the development of the small lots. The
existing septic systems on South Kent Island, however,
deteriorated. Many of the septic systems are now considered
failing-in two developments, a full eighty percent are. As
the district court noted, "[f]ailed septic systems
discharge untreated or undertreated sewage onto the surface
or into groundwater polluting the ground and surface waters
and increasing the risk of disease caused by human ...