Smith v. Little Rock

279 Ark. 4, 648 S.W.2d 454 (1983)



Pursuant to Ark. R. Civ. P. 40, the granting or denial of a continuance is a matter within the sound discretion of the court, and such a ruling will not be disturbed unless the trial court abused that discretion by acting arbitrarily and capriciously.


The city voted unanimously to change the zoning classification of certain property from a single family and quiet office classification to a general commercial classification as requested by the owners of that property. A fast food restaurant was to be constructed on that site if rezoned. The property owners in that vicinity brought an action to have the rezoning set aside. The chancellor held that there was a presumption the city acted in a reasonable manner and that the property owners failed to meet their burden of proof that required them to demonstrate the arbitrariness of its action. Thus, he denied the petition. The court affirmed the ruling of the chancery court 


Is rezoning a previously residential property in a residential neighborhood inherently arbitrary and capricious?




The court affirmed because the decision of the chancellor was not clearly erroneous or against the preponderance of evidence pursuant to Ark. R. Civ. P. 52(a). The court did not have the authority to review zoning legislature de novo. The property owners failed to rebut the presumption that the city acted in a fair, just, and reasonable manner. Therefore, its actions were not arbitrary or capricious.

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