Attorney William Anthony Moss of WCWM successfully represented Taylor Junkyard of Bremen, Inc. in a zoning case against Haralson County where the client was seeking review of the county zoning board’s decision to deny the client a business license to crush cars as a previously permitted nonconforming use under the county’s zoning ordinance.
The Supreme Court affirmed the Superior Court’s grant of writ of mandamus requiring the County to issue the appropriate business license for the grandfathered nonconforming uses in a full bench opinion with no dissents. The Court upheld the rule that when a local zoning ordinance does not establish a means by which an aggrieved party may gain judicial review of an adverse decision by a zoning appeal board, a petition to the appropriate superior court for the writ of mandamus is the proper remedy and a local government cannot, without statutory authority, create a mechanism of appeal to the superior court by local ordinance alone.
The Court in no uncertain terms affirmed the long standing principle that because zoning ordinances which restrict an owner’s right to use his property for any lawful purpose are in derogation of the common law, they must be strictly construed in favor of the property owner.
The Georgia Supreme Court’s opinion is Haralson County et al. v. Taylor Junkyard of Bremen, Inc., 291 Ga. 321, 729 S.E.2d 357 (2012).