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2000-08-01
Las Vegas, NV. Home Depot Sued By Homeowners

A Las Vegas couple has sued Home Depot for breach of contract and fraud in a case that the plaintiffs say involves the building supply company's efforts to "neutralize" the couple's opposition to a zoning change by offering to buy their home, and even hiring the husband as a consultant. In a case filed in Clark County District Court, the couple charges Home Depot with intentionally committing fraud by promising in writing to purchase their home, but "when it became apparent that success (in rezoning) was imminent...refused to abide by the terms of its contract." The lawsuit stems from a Home Depot request to the County Commissioners to rezone over 12 acres of land from "rural estates residential" to commercial to build a 129,809 s.f. Home Depot, placed on the site so as to crowd only 30 feet from the couple's home. The lawsuit says Home Depot made an written offer to buy the home in February, in a letter of intent to purchase the property. At the zoning hearing, the couple told local officials that Home Depot had made an offer, and that they had accepted. The complaint says that Home Depot's letter of intent was a written offer, and thus a binding contract that the company is breaching. The plaintiffs note that Home Depot "was well aware that the likelihood of success on the Application was greatly enhanced if (the couple's) opposition to the application could be satisfactorily resolved." As a result, the couple argues, they were fraudulently misled, and Home Depot officials conspired to deceive them. Home Depot field a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, but the District Court for Clark County denied Home Depot's motion..

What you can do: In a separate brief, the couple notes that Home Depot tried to use the husband "to act as a go between for Home Depot and other residences further to the north to attempt to gain support for the project." When Home Depot "determined that it apparently had the votes on the Board of County Commission", they "refused to consummate the purchase" of the home. Ironically, Clark County Planning Commission staff recommended that the proposal be denied on several grounds: 1) that it did not comply with the county land use plan 2) the use was too "large and intense" to be located next to residential property 3) that the project violates a Nevada law protecting rural neighborhood preservation. The Planning Commission rejected the advice of its own staff and approved the Home Depot plans in early March, and the County Commission followed suit, going so far as to suggest that Home Depot would actually improve air quality by preventing residents from having to drive as far to find a building materials store. The lawsuit claims the County decision was arbitrary and capricious, and violated the master plan. Nevada's new land use law requires that land zoned rural preservation neighborhood must have its rural character protected by adequate buffer areas, screening and "an orderly and efficient transition of land uses." The suit also points out that local shoppers have a Wal-Mart, Sears, and a Payless Cashways all within a short distance. "In fact, a Home Depot abutting rural neighborhoods will only increase traffic and air pollution for the desigfnated rural preservation areas." This Las Vegas couple has learned the hard way that dealing with Home Depot can be a major roll of the dice. For further information on this lawsuit, contact info@sprawl-busters.com










 
 
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