News & Insights

Dykema Obtains Victory for Air Park Estates in Dallas Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals’ 50-page decision marks important victory for property rights in Texas

April 15, 2014

The Dallas Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Dykema clients Air Park Common Area Preservation Association, Inc., Dale Burgdorf, Chad Maisel, and Amy Eklund on Wednesday in a decision that represents a significant victory for property rights in Texas.  

The dispute involved claims by homeowners in a residential airpark community, represented by Dykema Litigation Department Members Christopher Kratovil and Christine Nowak, against a real estate developer, the zoning committee of the airpark community, and the City of Carrollton. The case addresses actions that resulted in the City ordering the airpark’s airport closed.

“The Air Park Estates airfield will remain in operation for the foreseeable future, underscoring an important vindication of property rights in Texas,” said Dykema Member Christine Nowak. “The Court of Appeals’ nuanced and carefully drafted opinion will be cited for a long time to come.” 

Dykema’s clients are homeowners in Air Park Dallas, a residential community with a small, privately-owned, public-access airport. After the City of Carrollton annexed a portion of the airport, it passed an ordinance to regulate the airport. The City’s Property Standards Board subsequently ordered the airport closed unless Crow-Billingsley Air Park, Ltd., the title owner of the airport land, corrected several violations of the ordinance it found to exist.

In the Dallas Court of Appeals, a 50-page opinion held that the City of Carrollton’s airport ordinance was facially unconstitutional, as well as unconstitutional as applied to Dykema’s clients.

“The Court of Appeals understood that Carrollton and Billingsley were attempting to take our clients’ property without paying just compensation and while avoiding the substantial political blowback inherent when a city seizes homes on behalf of a private developer,” said Dykema Member Christopher Kratovil. “This highly successful outcome speaks to the strength of Dykema’s appellate capabilities and its Dallas team.”