Posted by: Patricia Salkin | December 20, 2010

TN Appeals Court Upholds Denial of Rezoning Request Due to Concerns over Sewer System

In 2008, Plaintiff applied to the Smyrna Planning Commission for approval to rezone his land from medium density residential to PRD, which is defined as “any planned development for a land use, uses, or combination of uses permitted by right or by special exception.”  After various meetings and discussions, the Planning Commission recommended that the Town Council approve Plaintiff’s proposed plans to build a multi-family residential development.  The Planning Commission imposed special conditions, however, one of which being that a sewer easement be granted for Phase II of the project and that Phase II could not be built until a gravity sewer was correctly constructed.  The Town Council, however, unanimously denied the application.  Plaintiff appealed but the Town Council’s decision was upheld because the development plans lacked sufficiently detailed plans concerning the sewer system.

Plaintiff appealed and argued that the Town Council’s decision was arbitrary and capricious.  The Town Council did not specifically provide a reason for its denial but when reading the transcripts, the Court determined the Town Council denied the application because of concerns about the sewer system and Plaintiff’s inability to obtain easements.  Furthermore, the Court determined that the Town Council acted in accordance with the authority it was given when it evaluated Plaintiff’s application.  And in conclusion, the Court did not find that the Town Council acted in an arbitrary or capricious manner when it denied the rezoning application.  Plaintiff’s lack of sewers and inability to show when Phase II of the project would occur in light of his inability to obtain the proper easements were more than sufficient reasons for the Town Council to deny the application.  The decision of the lower court was affirmed.

Christmas v. Town of Smyrna, 2010 WL 4962900 (Tenn. Ct. App. 12/6/ 2010)

The opinion can be accessed here


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