Posted by: Patricia Salkin | September 4, 2014

OH Appeals Court Upholds Denial of Permit for Beekeeping

Plaintiff-appellant, Shamockery L.L.C. (“Shamockery”), appealed from the trial court’s order affirming the denial of its request for a zoning certificate to use a parcel for beekeeping. In its order, the trial court concluded that the decision of the Olmsted Township Board of Zoning Appeals (“BZA”) was not unconstitutional, illegal, arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, or unsupported by the preponderance of substantial, reliable, and probative evidence because the parcel was excavated as a water retention basin and handles drainage for several areas in order to prevent flooding.

The Township denied the application because the parcel does not have sufficient frontage, parking, or access drives; bee hives are an accessory building that are not permitted until a principal structure is complete; and beekeeping is a nonconforming use of the property. Shamockery appealed to the BZA, and asserted that it has an absolute right to use the parcel as requested because beekeeping is an agricultural pursuit under R.C. 519.21(A), and the area of the parcel exceeds one acre. Despite this, the record from the hearing reflects that the intended use of the Property, dating back many years, was as a water retention basin for the adjoining subdivisions. The basin handles the drainage for several areas in order to prevent flooding the Township and Olmsted Falls and the Property was excavated as a retention basin and was approved by the sanitary engineer as such. Furthermore, the record reflected that the Township has openly maintained this Property for retention purposes and continues to do so.

As a result, the court concluded that the trial court’s decision is supported by a preponderance of reliable, probative, and substantial evidence, and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in affirming BZA’s decision.

Shamockery, LLC v Olmsted Township Board of Zoning Appeals, 2014 WL 3867488 (OH App. 8/7/2014)

The opinion can be accessed at: http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/rod/docs/pdf/8/2014/2014-ohio-3422.pdf


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