CITY OF RICHLAND LOSES ZONING DISPUTE

photo_businessinfoIn an important property rights and zoning case handled by our firm, the Mississippi Supreme Court yesterday unanimously affirmed the Mississippi Court of Appeal’s reversal of a zoning resolution passed by the City of Richland.

In this case we represented Cleveland Mobile Home Community. The appeal was the result of an unconstitutional ordinance passed by the City of Richland in an effort to shut down the mobile home community.

In April 2008, the City of Richland passed a resolution stating that anytime a mobile home was moved out of the park, the space could not be re-used or re-rented. So the effect of the ordinance was to gradually reduce the revenue so that Cleveland MHC would be forced out of business.

On behalf of Cleveland MHC, we appealed the City’s actions through a Bill of Exceptions to the Rankin County Circuit Court. In response, the Mayor and Board of Aldermen argued that their resolution was proper under the City’s zoning ordinance, and that it was a valid exercise of the City’s police powers. The Circuit Court upheld City’s actions.

We then appealed the case to the Mississippi Court of Appeals who ruled 9-1 that the attempt to destroy the Mobile Home Community by attrition was “arbitrary, capricious, and illegal.” The City of Richland then requested the case be reviewed by the Mississippi Supreme Court because the case presented a matter of first impression in Mississippi. The Mississippi Supreme Court granted the requested review. However, in the opinion handed down yesterday, the Mississippi Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the Court of Appeals finding that Richland’s actions appeared to be without reason and implied a disregard for the surrounding facts and settled controlling principles. (Cleveland MHC v Richland (SCt Opinion)).

[updated 6/15/15] More information about the case can be found here, here, here, here, here.

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