Riparian Right – Right to a View

There are very few cases reported on riparian rights.  There are even fewer cases reported on the riparian “right to a view.”  Tony Cuva and David Hayes had the unique experience of litigating one of the few right to view riparian right cases over a dock being constructed in a Davis Islands neighborhood.  Neighbors contended that the dock obstructed their riparian right to view of the water.  David Hayes and Tony Cuva successfully defended the case along with the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County (“EPC”).

The EPC has been delegated the authority from the Tampa Port Authority to issue dock permits in Hillsborough County, Florida.  In this instance, the firm’s client applied for a dock permit and was issued that dock permit in accordance with the EPC guidelines, rules and regulations specifying the size of a dock.  The neighbors objected to the size of the dock – contending that it blocked their riparian right to a view.  There is case law to support the fact that Floridians (and only Floridians) enjoy a right to a view if they are upland riparian landowners.  Accordingly, the neighbors objected to the issuance of the dock permit based, in part, on their Complaint that the dock would infringe on their right to a view.  The dispute over whether the permit was proper was brought before an administrative judge at a hearing which involved numerous witnesses, including over five expert witnesses.  The administrative judge ruled in favor of the EPC concluding that permit was proper, and her ruling was then affirmed by the EPC’s commission.  The case was not appealed.