Posted by: Patricia Salkin | April 29, 2015

TN Appeals Court Holds Town and Its Development Department Fell Within the “Zone of Interests” Protected By Ordinance Prohibiting the Construction of New Billboards

The Town of Collierville, Tennessee, passed an ordinance prohibiting the construction of new billboards. The Town, through its Development Department, asserted that two billboards erected prior to the passage of the ordinance were illegal and ordered that they be removed. The owner of the billboards, Abbington Center, appealed the removal order to the Board of Zoning Appeals, which did not affirm the order. The Town and the Development Department petitioned for writ of certiorari, seeking judicial review of the decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals, and the court dismissed the petition for lack of standing.

The Town and the Development Department sought review of the BZA decision and the trial court ultimately dismissed the appeal based on Tennessee Code Annotated § 27–9–101. Under Tennessee Code Annotated § 27–9–101, anyone who may be aggrieved by any final order or judgment of any board or commission functioning under the laws of this state may have the order or judgment reviewed by the courts. The chancery court concluded that the Town and the Development Department could not be aggrieved, because the BZA was the sole “entity having the power, authority, and responsibility to determine the position of the Town of Collierville with regard to whether or not a town official has made an error in any determination.” Despite this, the Town ordinance creating the BZA specifically permitted “any officer, agency or department of the Town” to appeal a decision of the BZA. Thus, the court concluded that both the Town and its Development Department had standing to seek review of the BZA’s decision, and the chancery court was reversed.

Town of Collierville v Town of Collierville Zoning Board of Appeals, 2015 WL 1606712 (TN App. 4/7/2015)

The opinion can be accessed at:

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