Posted by: Patricia Salkin | June 2, 2020

GA Appeals Court Holds Accessory Use that Did Not Pertain to the Allowed Use of a Property Violated Local Zoning Ordinance

This post was authored by Matthew Loescher, Esq.

Bart Boyd and Georgia Stone Products, LLC, submitted a “Development Plan Application” for a portable rock crushing plant to use on property zoned heavy industrial. In this appeal, the City of Douglasville, along with its mayor and City Council members, alleged that the Superior Court erred by concluding that the City Council acted arbitrarily and capriciously and erred as a matter of law in denying the development plan application. Specifically, the City claimed that the Superior Court erred by ignoring precedent regarding “more intense or heavy uses of a property than the property is zoned,” substituting its judgment for that of the City Council, and holding that the City Council did not have authority to weigh the evidence in deciding whether to approve the application. 

As to the property zoned light industrial on which Boyd sought to place an access road to the property zoned heavy industrial, the court found that neither “Mining and Quarrying” nor “Stone, Clay, Glass and Concrete Products” was a permitted principal use by either right or special permit. Moreover, other Georgia courts had found, based on ordinances with provisions having a similar or analogous effect to those at issue, that an accessory use that does not pertain to the allowed use of a property violates a local zoning ordinance. Here, the zoning ordinance at issue unambiguously states: “No accessory use or structure shall be allowed on any lot except in relation to an existing principal use on the lot.” As such, the Superior Court erred when it reversed the City Council’s denial of Boyd’s application for a development plan and approved it as a matter of law.

 City of Douglasville v Boyd, 2020 WL 4019117 (GA App. 6/2/2020)


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