Articles Posted in Tennessee Supreme Court

by
CBS Outdoor, Inc. applied to the Davidson County Metropolitan Department of Codes and Building Safety for two permits regarding billboards. The Zoning Administrator denied the permits. The Board of Zoning Appeals of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee (BZA) overturned the Zoning Administrator’s decision and granted the permits. The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee (Metro) timely filed a petition for a writ of certiorari against the BZA in chancery court challenging the BZA’s order. The chancery court dismissed the petition, concluding that Metro did not have standing to bring this suit. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that Metro had the requisite standing to bring this action. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the chancery court erred in dismissing the petition on the basis that Metro lacked standing. Remanded. View "Metro. Gov’t of Nashville & Davidson County, Tenn. v. Bd. of Zoning Appeals" on Justia Law

by
Certain amplified music concerts were conducted on farm land in a rural county. The county board of zoning appeals later ordered the business owners who hosted the concerts to limit the concerts to one per year, but the business owners defied the order. Plaintiff, a neighborhood property owner, filed suit seeking to enforce the zoning authority's decision and to abate the concerts as a common-law nuisance. The trial court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss, concluding (1) the concerts were exempted from local land use regulations because they qualified as "agriculture"; and (2) the Tennessee Right to Farm Act (Act) precluded nuisance liability. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the concerts were not "agriculture" for the purpose of the zoning laws; and (2) the Act did not apply to the music concerts, and Plaintiff presented a prima facie case of common-law nuisance. Remanded. View "Shore v. Maple Lane Farms, LLC" on Justia Law

by
The City of Jefferson City annexed property on which a fireworks retailer's business was located. The City had an ordinance banning the sale of fireworks within its city limits. The retailer filed suit seeking compensation for a regulatory taking or, in the alternative, for a declaration that Tenn. Code Ann. 13-7-208(b), which allows pre-existing nonconforming businesses to continue to operate despite a "zoning change," permitted it to continue to sell fireworks. The trial court dismissed the retailer's complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because the City's ordinance banning the sale of fireworks was not a "zoning change" or "zoning restriction" under the test announced in Cherokee Country Club, Inc. v. City of Knoxville, the retailer did not qualify for relief under section 13-7-208(b)(1). View "SNPCO, Inc. v. City of Jefferson City" on Justia Law

by
At issue in this appeal was the proper procedure for obtaining judicial review of a local legislative body's land use decision under the "Jackson Law," Tenn. Code Ann. 68-211-701 to -707. The opponents of a coal ash landfill, approved by the Cumberland County Commission, filed a petition for a statutory writ of certiorari in the chancery court seeking judicial review of the Commission's decision. The trial court dismissed the petition because it was not verified as required by Tenn. Code Ann. 27-8-106. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court granted Petitioners' application for permission to appeal because the Jackson Law did not specifically define the procedure for seeking judicial review of a local legislative body's decisions. The Court reversed, holding (1) a local legislative body's decision under the Jackson Law may be challenged either by a petition for a statutory writ of certiorari or by a complaint for declaratory judgment, and (2) the lower courts erred by failing to treat the statutory petition for writ of certiorari as a complaint for declaratory judgment. Remanded. View "Brundage v. Cumberland County" on Justia Law

by
Two municipalities, Kingston and Harriman, sought to annex the same territory outside the urban growth boundaries for both municipalities set forth in the county's growth plan. Harriman attempted to annex the territory by proposing an amendment to the county growth plan and enacting an ordinance annexing the territory. Kingston then annexed the territory by an annexation referendum. More than a week before the referendum, Harriman filed a complaint in chancery court seeking to hold Kingston's annexation referendum in abeyance while Harriman's annexation proceedings were pending. The chancery court held that Harriman's annexation ordinance was void and created no conflict with Kingston's successful annexation of the same territory by referendum. The court of appeals reversed, and Kingston appealed. The Supreme Court held that Tenn. Code Ann. 6-58-111(d)(1) does not permit a municipality to annex territory outside its urban growth boundary by ordinance. The Court reversed the judgment of the appellate court and reinstated the chancery court's order dismissing the case.