Appellee purchased a parcel surrounded by A-1 (agriculturally) zoned land. The land had previously been used to grow tobacco and raise cattle. Appellee requested rezoning of his land to an R-1 zone that would allow single family homes to be built but the board of commissioners denied the request based on a finding that the current zoning of the land was appropriate. A Month after that denial was upheld by the circuit court, appellee requested a change to an R-3 zone which would allow for single family homes, but required larger lot sizes than the R-1 zone. Although denial was recommended by the planning commission, the board approved the zoning change after a public hearing.
Appellants appealed the board’s approval to the Circuit court which affirmed the Board’s decision finding that there was substantial evidence to support the board’s conclusion that the zoning plan was in agreement with the Comprehensive Plan. Appellants appealed.
The court first recognized that judicial review of administrative action is concerned only with the question of arbitrariness. The circuit court limited its review to whether the Board’s actions were supported by substantial evidence and if so, only then would the court defer to that decision. Substantial evidence is defined as evidence of substantial and relevant consequence, having the fitness to induce conviction in the minds of reasonable people. This being said, if any substantial evidence exists to support the action of the Board, it cannot be found to be arbitrary and will be sustained.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court, agreeing that the board had substantial evidence to support its finding, specifically, that the zoning map amendment was in agreement with the Comprehensive Plan.
Stewart v. City of Paris, 2012 WL 1957323 (Ky. Ct. App.6/1/2012) (unpub.)
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