Speculations, expressions of fears and considerations of an aesthetic or political nature do not form a basis to support a decision made by an administrative body charged with adjudicating responsibility. The Board of Zoning Appeals exercises a quasi-judicial function which is limited by the conditions and standards provided for in the zoning ordinance. This quasi-judicial function shall not be controlled or even influenced by the wishes, desires or opinions of interested persons expressed at public hearings.
The landowners filed an application for a conditional use permit to allow the operation of a mobile home park. The City of Gallatin Board of Zoning Appeals (Board) conducted a hearing and denied the application. The landowners filed a case against the City of Gallatin Board of Zoning Appeals, where the trial court found that the Board had acted arbitrarily and remanded with directions to issue the permit. The case was appealed to the Court of Appeals of Tennessee.
Did a local zoning board act arbitrarily when it denied a landowners permit based on neighborhood complaints about the character of the proposed use, which complied with the local zoning ordinance?
The court remanded to the Board for the issuance of the permit upon such conditions as were reasonable. On appeal, the court stated that it was uncontroverted that the landowners had complied with Gallatin, Tenn., Zoning Ordinance § 62-105 in all material respects. The court stated that there was uncontroverted proof that public utilities were adequate, available, and accessible for the proposed mobile home park. It was uncontroverted that the traffic generated from the park would have had no adverse effect on the surrounding neighborhood. The court stated that the residents' opinions and beliefs as to the adverse impact of the park on the neighborhood did not rise to the level of material evidence as to the adverse impact of the park. The court stated that when the applicant had met all the conditions or requirements set forth in the ordinance the Board had to approve the permit, it was not a discretionary matter. The Board's decision was arbitrary and unsupported by any material evidence.