Articles Posted in Zoning, Planning & Land Use

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The Supreme Court granted in part a writ of prohibition requested by Relators - Rocky Ridge Development, LLC and Stanley Industries, Inc. - against common laws court judge Bruce Winters after Judge Winters issued a temporary restraining order against Relators enjoining them from operating in Benton Township until “they are in compliance with the Benton Township Zoning Resolution and the laws of the State of Ohio.” Benton Township had filed a compliant for declaratory and injunctive relief against Relators, alleging that the companies were violating the terms of a Land Application Management Plan (LAMP), were in violation of local zoning ordinances and state law, and were creating a public nuisance. The Supreme Court (1) granted a limited writ of prohibition to prevent the judge from deciding any issues that properly belong to the Environmental Review Appeals Commission, such as the wisdom or propriety of issuing the LAMP or Rocky Ridge’s compliance with the LAMP; but (2) denied the writ as to all claims involving alleged violations of Benton Township’s local ordinances or allegations that Rocky Ridge’s operations were creating a public nuisance. View "State ex rel. Rocky Ridge, LLC v. Winters" on Justia Law

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In 2016, the Powell City Council approved an ordinance rezoning certain property from planned commercial and residence districts to downtown residence district. Thereafter, Brian Ebersole sought a writ of mandamus to compel Powell City Council to place the new ordinance on the May 2017 ballot. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding that Ebersole was not entitled to a writ of mandamus because, under the city charter, the City had no clear legal duty to place the matter on the ballot. Therefore, Ebersole’s proper course of action was to challenge the validity of the ordinance by way of a suit for declaratory judgment, a form of relief that this Court had no original jurisdiction to grant. View "State ex rel. Ebersole v. City Council of Powell" on Justia Law

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Cuyahoga County filed an exemption to a tract of real property it acquired in 2004. The property consisted of a marina/restaurant that operated in conjunction with an adjacent public park. The tax commissioner granted the application as to the the public park portion but denied the application as to the remainder constituting the marina and restaurant. In doing so, the Commissioner invoked his authority to order a split between the taxable and exempt portions. The County appealed, arguing that the Commissioner erred by finding that the property was not used exclusively for a public purpose. The Board of Tax Appeals affirmed primarily on the ground that the marina and restaurant were operated “with a view to profit.” The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that when the marina and restaurant are considered separately from the park, the denial of the exemption was neither unreasonable nor unlawful. View "Cuyahoga County v. Testa" on Justia Law

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Appellant sought to develop a subdivision consisting of forty-four single-family homes on property zoned R-1 residential. Appellant applied to Granger Township Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) for variances for each of the forty-four proposed lots. The BZA denied the variance application. The county court of common pleas affirmed. Appellant filed a complaint for a declaratory judgment seeking a declaration that Granger’s zoning resolution establishing the R-1 zoning classification was unconstitutional and beyond Granger’s authority because Granger enacted the zoning resolution without enacting a separate comprehensive plan. The trial court denied Appellant’s claims, declaring that Granger had complied with Ohio Rev. Code 519.02’s requirement that a zoning resolution be adopted in accordance with a comprehensive plan. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a comprehensive plan pursuant to section 519.02 may be included within a township’s zoning resolution and need not be a separate and distinct document. View "Apple Group, Ltd. v. Granger Twp. Bd. of Zoning Appeals" on Justia Law

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In 1987, the village of Lodi passed an ordinance enacting Lodi Zoning Code 1280.05(a), which addresses discontinuation or abandonment of nonconforming uses. The final sentence of the ordinance states that the absence or removal of a mobile home from its lot constitutes discontinuance from the time of removal. As a result of the ordinance, Appellees were eventually not able to rent some of their mobile-home park lots and essentially lost a property right as to that portion of their property. Appellees filed a complaint against Lodi requesting a declaration that the zoning ordinance was unconstitutional and constituted a taking of their properties. The trial court granted summary judgment for Lodi. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the ordinance was unconstitutional on its face. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the last sentence of the ordinance was an unconstitutional deprivation of a property right and may not be applied. Remanded. View "State ex rel. Sunset Estate Props., LLC, v. Village of Lodi" on Justia Law

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Ohio Rev. Code 1509 gives state government “sole and exclusive authority” to regulate the permitting, location, and spacing of oil and gas wells and production operations within Ohio. Beck Energy Corporation obtained a permit from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in order to drill an oil and gas well on property within the corporate limits of the City of Munroe Falls. When Beck Energy began drilling, the City filed a complaint seeking injunctive relief and alleging that Beck Energy was violating several provisions of the Munroe Falls Codified Ordinances. The trial court issued a permanent injunction prohibiting Beck Energy from drilling until it complied with all local ordinances. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that section 1509.02 prohibited the City from enforcing the five ordinances. In so holding, the court rejected the City’s argument that the Home Rule Amendment to the Ohio Constitution allowed the City to impose its own permit requirements on oil and gas drilling operations. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Home Rule Amendment does not grant the City the power to discriminate against, unfairly impede, or obstruct oil and gas activities and production operations that the State has permitted under chapter 1509. View "State ex rel. Morrison v. Beck Energy Corp." on Justia Law

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Appellants, Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Fairview Hospital, sought approval to build a helipad on the roof of a new two-story addition on the Hospital. The Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) denied a permit to construct the helipad, determining that the Cleveland zoning ordinances did not permit the building of the helipad. The Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas reversed, concluding that the helipad was permissible under the ordinances. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the court of appeals applied an incorrect standard of review in reversing the trial court; and (2) the trial court correctly found that under the current version of the Cleveland zoning ordinances, a helipad was a permitted accessory use for the Hospital. View "Cleveland Clinic Found. v. Bd. of Zoning Appeals" on Justia Law

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At dispute in this case was a bridge located in Cuyahoga County on the border between Independence City and the village of Valley View and on a road that was neither a County road nor a state highway. The County and the City each claimed that the other was responsible for maintaining and repairing the bridge. The County’s duty to repair or replace such a bridge depended upon whether the road served by the bridge was a road of general and public utility. The Cuyahoga County Board of County Commissioners determined that the road was not a road of general and public utility. The common pleas court reversed, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a preponderance of reliable, probative, and substantial evidence supported the determination that the road was a road of general and public utility. View "City of Independence v. Office of the Cuyahoga County Executive" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs purchased a 33,000-square-foot residential lot in 1974 that was adjacent to another lot owned by Plaintiffs upon which they had built their residence. In 2004, the village of Ottowa Hills denied Plaintiffs' request for a variance seeking to have the vacant lot declared a "buildable" lot because the zoning code at that time included a requirement that no structure could be built on a lot smaller than 35,000 square feet. This new size restriction was enacted in 1978. At the time Plaintiffs purchased the lot, the minimum buildable lot size was 15,000 square feet. Plaintiffs unsuccessfully appealed the village's decision to the Ottawa Hills Zoning Commission. The trial court upheld the Commission's decision, concluding that there was no regulatory taking. The court of appeals reversed. On remand, the trial court determined that a taking had not occurred because Plaintiffs had not taken any affirmative steps to build a house on the lot. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that under the analysis that is applicable to determining whether a variance should have been granted in this case, the appropriate result would have been to grant the variance. Remanded. View "Boice v. Village of Ottawa Hills" on Justia Law

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Youngstown Belt Railway Company entered into a purchase agreement with Total Waste Logistics of Girard for the purchase of Mosier Yard, which the railway owned. The sale was never consummated, and later the city of Girard commenced an appropriation action to appropriate a portion of Mosier Yard. The trial court held that the city's appropriation proceedings were preempted by the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act (ICCTA). On remand, the trial court held that it would be inappropriate to consider the railway's potential sale to Total Waste in the preemption analysis but determined that the railway's use of a portion of the appropriated land for storage caused the city's action to be preempted by the ICCTA. The appellate court affirmed, although on different grounds. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the city's proposed eminent-domain action against the undeveloped portion of the railway's property, which did not contain any tracks or rights-of-way and did not have any concrete projected use that would constitute rail transportation by a rail carrier, was not preempted under the ICCTA. View "Girard v. Youngstown Belt Ry. Co." on Justia Law