Palm Beach man loses appeal in First Amendment case over mansion design

A federal appeals court has ruled the Palm Beach Architectural Commission didn’t violate resident Donald A. Burns’ First Amendment rights to freedom of expression by denying his request to build a modern-style house on an oceanfront property on the island’s North End.    This month’s majority opinion — issued by the U.S Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit — generally supported the town’s long-standing position that […]

A federal appeals court has ruled the Palm Beach Architectural Commission didn’t violate resident Donald A. Burns’ First Amendment rights to freedom of expression by denying his request to build a modern-style house on an oceanfront property on the island’s North End.   

This month’s majority opinion — issued by the U.S Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit — generally supported the town’s long-standing position that it has a right to regulate the architecture on its streets to ensure that nearby structures are not strikingly out of character with one another, either in scale or appearance.  

“In other words, the town doesn’t want elephants next to poodles,” the opinion stated.  

The decision also said architectural commissioners had not  violated Burns’ 14th Amendment rights to due process when they reviewed the house plans.   

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Paul Rudolph, Rudolph Apartment at 23 Beekman Place, New York (1977-1997). Perspective Section, 1997. Digitized drawing | 4732 x 3416 px. The Paul Rudolph Archive, Library of Congress, Print and Photograph Division, LC-USZ62-123771. The cut shows the complexity of the space that Timothy Rohan describes as exemplary of Rudolph’s approach […]

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