Posted by: Patricia Salkin | October 17, 2020

OH Supreme Court Could Not Deny Application Based on Zoning Resolution’s General Standards that Did Not Relate to Public Health or Safety

This post was authored by Matthew Loescher, Esq.

Appellant Columbus Bituminous Concrete Corporation owned 178.9 acres of land in Harrison Township, on which it sought to have appellant Shelly Materials, Inc., conduct quarrying and mining of sand and gravel. CBCC sought approval from the BZA to engage in sand-and-gravel mining, but the BZA denied its request, and the court of common pleas and the Fourth District affirmed on appeal.

 CBCC first contended that a general standard that did not relate to public health or safety could not be applied to deny a conditional use application to engage in mining activities, and that the Fourth District erred by holding to the contrary. Specifically, CBCC claimed that because R.C. 519.02(A) expressly limited township trustees’ power to regulate mining to matters in the interest of public health and safety, no zoning regulation concerning interests unrelated to public health and safety, such as general welfare, could provide a basis for denying a mining application. Conversely, appellees Harrison Township, the BZA, and the township zoning inspector asserted that R.C. 519.141(A) granted power to the township trustees that was not eclipsed by R.C. 519.02.

The court first found that because the township trustees could regulate mining under R.C. 519.02(A) only in the interest of public health and safety, when the BZA considers an application to engage in mining activities, it could require compliance with the General Standards “only insofar as doing so is in the interest of public health and safety.” Additionally, even when compliance with the General Standards is in the interest of public health and safety, the court determined the BZA could require compliance with those standards only as conditions of the approval of an application. The court therefore reversed the decision of the Fourth District and remanded the case to the BZA to consider CBCC’s conditional-use application based on the evidence in the record, the provisions of the Revised Code, and the terms of the township Zoning Resolution.

Columbus Bituminous Concrete Corp. v Harrison Township Zoning Board of Appeals, 160 Ohio St. 3d 279 (OH 3/11/2020)


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