SW Legal studies in Business

City Must Follow Its Zoning Procedures
Description

Appeals court held that when a business properly follows all city rules and zoning procedures, the city does not have the right to deny a business permit. The city abused its discretion by denying a permit to a business that complied with all regulations. Speculation that the business might not get a needed state permit was improper.

Topic Real and Personal Property
Key Words

Zoning; Denial

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Vineyard submitted an application to a city for the purpose of improving leased premises in a shopping center. The business would operate a retail wine store. The application met all building codes and zoning ordinances. The city rejected the request. Vineyard appealed to the mayor and board of aldermen of the city. At a meeting, opposition was expressed by those who thought the business would injure the family reputation of the shopping center. There was also objection because there was already a liquor store in the center. The mayor and board then voted to affirm the denial of the permit. Further, they noted that Vineyard did not have a permit from the state Alcoholic Beverage Control office. Vineyard appealed, but the trial court upheld the decision. Vineyard appealed that decision.

Decision

Reversed and remanded. Vineyard’s use of the premises was not unlawful. It met all zoning requirements. Hence, the city acted outside its discretion by denying the building permit. The fact that Vineyard did not yet have the necessary liquor license was not a matter of concern for the city, as a state agency issues that. The zoning rules did not require Vineyard to obtain that license before seeking the business permit.

Citation

Vineyard Investments v. City of Madison, ---So.2d--- (2009 WL 116986, Ct. App., Miss., 2009)

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