By: Clay Karwisch
A recent Idaho Supreme Court case has important lessons for drafting force majeure clauses in development agreements. In Burns Concrete v. Teton County, the Idaho Supreme Court held that a force majeure clause in a development agreement was broad enough to apply to Teton County’s failure to grant appropriate approvals for the construction of a concrete plant contemplated by the development agreement. In the case, Burns Concrete (the Developer) acquired property zoned for commercial use, and successfully applied to have the zoning changed to industrial. Under the applicable zoning ordinance, buildings in the industrial zone could not exceed 45 feet in height unless approved by a conditional use permit. The Developer made a timely application for a conditional use permit to exceed the height limitation, which the planning and zoning office recommended for approval.