Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Standard for Granting Zoning Variance

Perhaps the moon pie analogy was a bit much, though I still want to share the legal standard for obtaining a change in zoning.

"To reclassify property, there must be proof, by clear and convincing evidence, that either: (1) a mistake in the original zoning occurred; or (2) a change occurred in the character of the neighborhood to justify rezoning and a public need."  Edwards v. Harrison County Bd. of Supervisors, 22 So. 3d 268, 274 (Miss. 2009); Old Canton Hills Homeowners Ass'n v. Mayor and City Council of City of Jackson, 749 So. 2d 54, 62 (Miss. 1999)See also Childs v. Hancock County Bd. of Supervisors, 1 So. 3d 855, 860 (Miss. 2009)Cockrell v. Panola County Bd. of Supervisors, 950 So. 2d 1086, 1091 (Miss. Ct. App. 2007)Nichols v. Madison County Bd. of Supervisors, 953 So. 2d 1128, 1130 (Miss. Ct. App. 2006)Byram 3 Dev., Inc. v. Hinds County Bd. of Supervisors, 760 So. 2d 841, 844 (Miss. Ct. App. 2000) .

Clear and convincing evidence (at least according to the case law of the Mississippi Supreme Court) is a stout hill to climb.  Landowners rely on zoning ordinances when deciding to locate their businesses and/or families to a particular location.  Folks should be entitled to rely on the laws (or ordinances, if you will) in place at the time they move their families and make that investment.  On the other hand, change over time inevitably happens, and a balance must be struck when determining the best way to encourage the expansion of industry.  

Nonetheless, the citizens of Rankin County need to know variances will likely be granted unless the citizens protest in substantial fashion.  As in the case of the car wash, one protester will not cut the mustard.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info, Troy! (And thanks for keeping this blog alive!