Posted by: Patricia Salkin | September 25, 2015

OH Supreme Court Finds Ordinance Providing the Absence or Removal of Nonconforming Mobile Homes from Property for Six Months or More Constitutes Discontinuance was Unconstitutional

Appellees, Sunset Properties, L.L.C., and Meadowview Village, Inc., each owned property in the village of Lodi on which they operate licensed manufactured-home parks. These mobile home park owners brought action against village, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief and damages, challenging constitutionality of ordinance governing discontinuance or abandonment of a nonconforming use of property. The Court of Common Pleas entered summary judgment in favor of village, and the owners appealed. The Court of Appeals then reversed and remanded and the Village appealed.

The provision in question, Lodi Zoning Code 1280.05(a), states that when a nonconforming use has been discontinued for six months, that discontinuance is conclusive evidence of the intention to legally abandon the nonconforming use. When a tenant left one of appellees’ mobile-home-park lots and the lot was vacant for longer than six months, Lodi would refuse to reconnect water and electrical service when a new tenant wanted to rent the lot. Lodi asserted that its goals for the ordinance are unquestionably permissible and that the ordinance is unquestionably rationally related to these goals; however, the plain language of the last sentence of the ordinance imputed a tenant’s abandonment of a lot within a mobile-home park on the park’s owner and deprives the owner of the park of the right to continue the use of its entire property in a manner that was lawful prior to the establishment of the zoning ordinance. Finally, the court found that the unconstitutional final sentence in Lodi Zoning Code 1280.05(a) could be severed from the rest of the ordinance because the remaining portion of the ordinance could stand by itself without inserting any words and its intended effect is not altered. The judgement was therefore affirmed.

State ex. rel. Sunset Properties, LLC v Village of Lodi, 30 NE 3d 934 (OH 3/10/2015)

The opinion can be accessed at: https://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/ROD/docs/pdf/0/2015/2015-Ohio-790.pdf


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