Posted by: Patricia Salkin | January 4, 2016

TN Appeals Court Reverses Finding that Town Lacked Standing in Sign Case

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. Abbington Center, the owner of the billboards, 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. The Shelby County Chancery Court dismissed the petition for lack of standing.

In this case, the Town and the Development Department sought review of the BZA decision and the trial court ultimately dismissed the appeal, finding the Town and Department were not “aggrieved parties” under Tennessee Code Annotated § 27–9–101. However, the Town ordinance creating the BZA specifically permits “any officer, agency or department of the Town” to appeal a decision of the BZA. Moreover, the Town and its Development Department fell within the “zone of interests” sought to be protected by the ordinance prohibiting the construction of new billboards. As such, the Town was specifically vested with authority to enforce such ordinances. Thus, the court held the trial court erred in dismissing the petition for writ of certiorari, and reversed and remanded.

Collierville v Town of Collierville Board of Zoning Appeals, 2015 WL 1606712 (TN App. 11/24/2015)

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