Justia Zoning, Planning & Land Use Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Mississippi
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Long Beach Harbor Resort, LLC (the Resort), leased a parcel of land located on the Public Trust Tidelands from the City of Long Beach. The issue this case presented for the Mississippi Supreme Court to determine was whether the Resort was required to enter into a separate lease with the Secretary of State for the use of the tidelands property or whether the Resort already had a valid lease allowing use of the tidelands in question. The Supreme Court found that the State of Mississippi had, through its Boundary Agreement and Tidelands Lease with the City of Long Beach, ratified the prior lease entered into between the City and the Resort. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the chancery court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the Resort and found that the Resort had a valid tidelands lease as ratified by the Secretary of State. View "Mississippi v. Long Beach Harbor Resort, LLC" on Justia Law

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Two cases were consolidated for the purposes of appeal, both from the Circuit Court of Hancock County, Mississippi. In each case, the circuit court found that it lacked jurisdiction due to a defect in the notice of appeal pursuant to Mississippi Code Section 11- 51-75(a)(i) (Rev. 2019). The circuit court dismissed both cases. The Mississippi Supreme Court found the statute did require that a petitioner before a local governing authority be made a party to an appeal of the authority’s decision. "But naming petitioners as appellees in the notice of appeal is procedural. Therefore, a notice of appeal that is filed on time but erroneously omits a petitioner’s name does not defeat the circuit court’s jurisdiction, and the error may be corrected." Finding that a defect in the contents of the notice of appeal was a procedural rather than a jurisdictional error, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded. View "Longo, et al. v. City of Waveland, et al." on Justia Law

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In 2016, Scioto Properties SP-16, LLC, purchased the residence on Lot 62 in The Grove. Scioto was a for-profit limited-liability company based in Ohio. Scioto specialized in helping individuals with developmental and/or physical disabilities to find residential housing. Under the express terms of the warranty deed, Scioto agreed to abide by any and all protective covenants. Despite the covenants’ clear prohibition of commercial and professional use, Scioto leased the home on Lot 62 to Brandi’s Hope in June 2017. Brandi’s Hope is a for-profit Mississippi limited-liability company that provides services to individuals with developmental and/or physical disabilities. A condition of the lease with Scioto was that Brandi’s Hope agreed to use the home on Lot 62 “solely to provide residential support services” to the residents living in the home. In October 2017, Brandi’s Hope entered into four separate subleases with four individuals. As a condition of living in the home, each disabled individual agreed to exclusively use Brandi’s Hope’s residential support services. While no Brandi’s Hope employee lives with the clients, Brandi’s Hope employees provided around-the-clock care, taking turns tending to clients overnight. Brandi’s Hope is compensated for its services by the Mississippi Department of Medicaid. Soon after the four individuals moved in, the owners of the residence directly across the street, Andy and Sheryl Graf, filed a complaint in the Chancery Court of Lee County against Scioto and Brandi’s Hope.1 The Grafs alleged the residence on Lot 62 was being used for business purposes, which violated the protective covenants. The Grafs sought a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief. Brandi’s Hope asked the Mississippi Supreme Court to focus on how its sublessees used the home as their residence, and insisted the fact these men received round-the-clock residential support services from Brandi’s Hope did not change the residential character of the men’s use. The Supreme Court determined the chancery court did not err by declaring that Brandi’s Hope’s commercial use violated the clear and unambiguous intent of the protective covenants. View "Scioto Properties SP-16, LLC et al. v. Graf" on Justia Law

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Long Beach Harbor Resort, LLC (the Resort), leased a parcel of land located on the Public Trust Tidelands from the City of Long Beach. The Mississippi Supreme Court was asked to determine whether the Resort is required to enter into a separate lease with the Secretary of State for the use of the tidelands property or whether the Resort already had a valid lease allowing use of the tidelands in question. The Court found that the State of Mississippi had, through its Boundary Agreement and Tidelands Lease with the City of Long Beach, ratified the prior lease entered into between the City and the Resort. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the chancery court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the Resort and found that the Resort had a valid tidelands lease as ratified by the Secretary of State. View "Mississippi v. Long Beach Harbor Resort, LLC" on Justia Law

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In 2008, the City of Gulfport undertook a project to replace the infrastructure associated with its water and sewer systems relating to damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The repair project involved federal, state, and local agencies and ultimately cost approximately $85 million to complete. The original design of the Area 3B project, the sewer infrastructure that crossed the Cowan Road property located north of U.S. Highway 90 and east of Highway 605 were to be replaced, and the new infrastructure was to be installed within the City’s existing easements across the properties. The Cowan Road property at issue was located in the Area 3B geographic zone. Robert “Kris” Riemann, P.E., then-director of the City’s department of public works, was notified that John Felsher had inquired about relocating the sewer infrastructure in Area 3B. Based on an agreement with Felsher to relocate the utilities, the City had the Area 3B design drawings redrafted to move the utilities. The City's project manager was notified that the discovery of underground telephone lines and other utilities required that the sewer line being relocated had to cut the northwest corner of the property. Cowan Road filed a complaint in the Chancery Court of Harrison County, Mississippi, advancing a claim for inverse condemnation against the City. The chancery court transferred the case to the Special Court of Eminent Domain in Harrison County. Due to the jurisdictional limits of county court, the case ended up in Harrison County Circuit Court. The circuit court entered an order granting the motion for partial summary judgment filed by the City on the issue of the date of the taking. The parties eventually settled the reverse condemnation claim, and the City agreed to pay $100,000 to Cowan Road & Hwy 90, LLC, for the improper and unlawful taking of its property. The issue before the Mississippi Supreme Court centered on the circuit court's grant of attorneys' fees and expenses: Gulfport argued that Cowan Road should not have been allowed to recover attorneys’ fees under Section 43-37-9. Finding that the statute applied and fees were appropriate, the Supreme Court affirmed. However, the Court found the trial judge abused his discretion by disallowing requests for postjudgment interest. View "City of Gulfport v. Cowan Road & Hwy 90, LLC, et al." on Justia Law

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This appeal presented a question of first impression in Mississippi as to whether short-term rentals of private homes through online services such as Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway were residential uses of property for the purposes of a restrictive covenant. The trial court’s finding that Clyde Esplin’s use of his property was residential and that short-term rentals were allowed under the covenants was affirmed as was the trial court's finding that the amended bylaws restricting property rentals were invalid. View "Lake Serene Property Owners Association, Inc. v. Esplin" on Justia Law

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The City of Gautier granted David Vindich a permit to build a 1,410 square foot garage/workshop on his .76 acre lot. When the building was almost completed, Vindich’s neighbor, Martin Wheelan, filed a lawsuit arguing the City’s decision was unlawful because Vindich actually sought a variance, which required a public hearing rather than a building permit. Thus, Wheelan said he was denied due process. Wheelan also claimed the City’s decision was arbitrary and capricious and that the workshop “completely overwhelm[ed]” the neighborhood and created a nuisance. After a trial, the chancellor dismissed Wheelan’s claims, finding that the City’s interpretation of the applicable ordinance was not manifestly unreasonable. The chancellor also found that the building was not a nuisance. Wheelan appealed, but the Court of Appeals affirmed. The Mississippi Supreme Court agreed with the appellate court's dissenting opinion, finding the City erred in its interpretation of the ordinance at issue here. The Court therefore reversed the Court of appeals and the chancery court, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Wheelan v. City of Gautier, et al." on Justia Law

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A circuit court reversed the Board of Supervisors of Hancock County, Mississippi's decision to deny the application of Razz Halili Trust d/b/a Prestige Oysters (the Trust) to use a location within Hancock County zoned “C-4” (Zone C-4) as a marina — a use allowed as a matter of right in Zone C-4. The Board appealed, and after review, the Mississippi Supreme Court found that the Board’s decision was arbitrary, capricious and not supported by substantial evidence. The Supreme Court therefore affirmed the circuit court's decision. View "Board of Supervisors of Hancock County, Mississippi v. Razz Halili Trust" on Justia Law

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This appeal arose from two cases filed in the Chancery Court of Madison County, Mississippi, consolidated by the chancery court on its own order. Petitioners from the community of Gluckstadt sought incorporation of approximately 10.8 square miles of incorporated territory in Madison County. The City of Canton petitioned for annexation of approximately 6.7 square miles of unincorporated territory in Madison County, consisting of five proposed areas (Areas 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). The chancery court entered a final decree, granting, in part, the Gluckstadt Incorporators’ petition. The decree granted Canton’s proposed annexation of Areas 1 and 2 but denied Canton’s proposed annexation of Areas 3, 4, and 5. Canton and Ron Hutchinson (Incorporation Objectors) appealed the chancery court’s grant of incorporation, claiming the chancery court lacked jurisdiction over the incorporation petition because it did not include two-thirds of the signatures of the qualified electors residing in the proposed incorporation area. Various citizens (Annexation Objectors) appealed the chancery court's grant of annexation of Areas 1 and 2. Canton cross-appealed the chancery court's denial of annexation as to Areas 3, 4 and 5. Finding no manifest error with the chancery court's final decree in both cases, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "In the Matter of the Enlarging, Extending and Defining the Corporate Limits and Boundaries of the City of Canton, Mississippi" on Justia Law

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Mississippi Sand Solutions (Solutions) appealed a judgment by the Warren County Special Court of Eminent Domain denying its petition to establish a private right-of-way across lands owned by the defendants (the Fishers). Because the Mississippi Supreme Court fount the special court did not err by applying collateral estoppel to claims relating to access to Solutions’ property, judgment was affirmed. "When a party has been given voluntary access to its property over the land of another and that party continues to have access for the purposes of ingress and egress, that party cannot assert a claim under Mississippi Code Section 65-7-201 for a private road through the land of their obliging neighbor. Even without applying the doctrine of collateral estoppel, Solutions, by its own arguments and testimony of its own witnesses, demonstrated it could not make a prima facie case under this statute." View "Mississippi Sand Solutions, LLC v. Otis, et al." on Justia Law