Justia Mississippi Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Zoning, Planning & Land Use
City of Ocean Springs v. Illanne, et al.
A group of residents (“the Neighbors”) appealed three separate zoning decisions of the City of Ocean Springs Board of Alderman to the Jackson County Circuit Court. The circuit court, sitting as an appellate court pursuant to Mississippi Code Section 11-51-75 (Rev. 2019), consolidated the appeals and reversed the City’s zoning decisions in two of the appeals and remanded the first appeal to the City board. The City then appealed whether the circuit court lacked jurisdiction to review the decisions when W. Lee Brumfield, who was an applicant before the City, was not included as a party to the Neighbors’ appeal. Due to the Mississippi Supreme Court’s intervening decision in Longo v. City of Waveland, 353 So. 3d 437 (Miss. 2022), and the fact that the circuit court did not address the issue in its ruling, the Supreme Court found that Brumfield’s status as a petitioner could not be determined at this point. The case was remanded to the circuit court for a factual determination as to whether Brumfield is a petitioner under Section 11-51-75. View "City of Ocean Springs v. Illanne, et al." on Justia Law
City of Jackson v. Cities of Pearl & Flowood, & Rankin County, Mississippi
Pursuant to Mississippi Code Sections 61-9-1 to -9 (Rev. 2022) the City of Jackson passed an ordinance on August 6, 2019, to incorporate land in Rankin County that surrounded what was known as the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport. Rankin County, the City of Pearl and the City of Flowood appealed the ordinance; the trial court declared the ordinance void because Jackson had failed to obtain the consent and approval of the Rankin County Board of Supervisors before passing the ordinance. Jackson appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court claiming that the trial court erred by finding that approval of the Rankin County Board of Supervisors was required. The Supreme Court found the ordinance void and affirmed the circuit court's judgment. View "City of Jackson v. Cities of Pearl & Flowood, & Rankin County, Mississippi" on Justia Law
Mississippi v. RW Development, LLC, et al.
The City of Biloxi and Harrison County, Mississippi adopted a joint resolution that authorized the lease of a piece of property to RW Development, LLC, for the development of a joint public/private pier seaward of Veterans Avenue. As a result, the State initiated this case seeking a declaratory judgment that the State was the sole and exclusive authority to lease Public Trust Tidelands, that the City had no authority to lease the subject property to RW, and that preliminary and permanent injunctive relief should issue against the actions of the City and RW. The Chancery Court of Harrison County denied the State’s requested relief and ultimately determined that the City and County had statutory authority to lease the property to RW for public use. Because the Mississippi Supreme Court agreed that Mississippi statutory law granted the City authority to build the pier, the court granted the chancery court's judgment. View "Mississippi v. RW Development, LLC, et al." on Justia Law
Heritage Hunter Knoll, LLC v. Lamar County, Mississippi
Heritage Hunter Knoll, LLC (Heritage), appeals the circuit court’s dismissal of its appeal for a lack of jurisdiction. The Lamar County Board of Supervisors (Board) amended the Unauthorized Dumping and Litter Ordinance (waste ordinance) to discontinue the county’s garbage collection service to multifamily residences, duplex developments, apartment complexes, and commercial properties. Notably, the amendment advised that “[a]ny citizen who [wa]s affected or aggrieved by this Ordinance may apply to the Lamar County Board of Supervisors (at its regularly scheduled meetings) for a Variance to the terms, provisions and applications of this Ordinance.” Heritage, a limited liability company, owned three properties in Lamar County: Hunter Lane, Heritage Cove, and Knoll Cutoff. Heritage received notice of the Board’s amendment to the waste ordinance by letter dated July 23, 2018. In August 2018, the Board passed a second, clarifying amendment to the waste ordinance. In September 2018, the Board approved Heritage’s variance request for the Knoll Cutoff property, but it denied the variance requests for Hunter Lane and Heritage Cove. Heritage did not appeal the Board’s amendment to the waste ordinance or the Board’s denial of its variance requests. In January 2019, the county implemented the amended waste ordinance. On February 1, 2019, Heritage filed suit in federal court claiming that the Board’s amendment to the waste ordinance was unlawful and that it violated Heritage’s constitutional rights. The Mississippi Supreme Court determined Heritage’s appeal was untimely as to the amendment to the waste ordinance but timely as to the Board’s denial of Heritage’s variance requests. The circuit court’s judgment of dismissal was affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part. View "Heritage Hunter Knoll, LLC v. Lamar County, Mississippi" on Justia Law
Mississippi v. Long Beach Harbor Resort, LLC
Long Beach Harbor Resort, LLC (the Resort), leased a parcel of land located on the Public Trust Tidelands from the City of Long Beach. The issue this case presented for the Mississippi Supreme Court to determine was whether the Resort was required to enter into a separate lease with the Secretary of State for the use of the tidelands property or whether the Resort already had a valid lease allowing use of the tidelands in question. The Supreme Court found that the State of Mississippi had, through its Boundary Agreement and Tidelands Lease with the City of Long Beach, ratified the prior lease entered into between the City and the Resort. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the chancery court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the Resort and found that the Resort had a valid tidelands lease as ratified by the Secretary of State. View "Mississippi v. Long Beach Harbor Resort, LLC" on Justia Law
Longo, et al. v. City of Waveland, et al.
Two cases were consolidated for the purposes of appeal, both from the Circuit Court of Hancock County, Mississippi. In each case, the circuit court found that it lacked jurisdiction due to a defect in the notice of appeal pursuant to Mississippi Code Section 11- 51-75(a)(i) (Rev. 2019). The circuit court dismissed both cases. The Mississippi Supreme Court found the statute did require that a petitioner before a local governing authority be made a party to an appeal of the authority’s decision. "But naming petitioners as appellees in the notice of appeal is procedural. Therefore, a notice of appeal that is filed on time but erroneously omits a petitioner’s name does not defeat the circuit court’s jurisdiction, and the error may be corrected." Finding that a defect in the contents of the notice of appeal was a procedural rather than a jurisdictional error, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded. View "Longo, et al. v. City of Waveland, et al." on Justia Law
Scioto Properties SP-16, LLC et al. v. Graf
In 2016, Scioto Properties SP-16, LLC, purchased the residence on Lot 62 in The Grove. Scioto was a for-profit limited-liability company based in Ohio. Scioto specialized in helping individuals with developmental and/or physical disabilities to find residential housing. Under the express terms of the warranty deed, Scioto agreed to abide by any and all protective covenants. Despite the covenants’ clear prohibition of commercial and professional use, Scioto leased the home on Lot 62 to Brandi’s Hope in June 2017. Brandi’s Hope is a for-profit Mississippi limited-liability company that provides services to individuals with developmental and/or physical disabilities. A condition of the lease with Scioto was that Brandi’s Hope agreed to use the home on Lot 62 “solely to provide residential support services” to the residents living in the home. In October 2017, Brandi’s Hope entered into four separate subleases with four individuals. As a condition of living in the home, each disabled individual agreed to exclusively use Brandi’s Hope’s residential support services. While no Brandi’s Hope employee lives with the clients, Brandi’s Hope employees provided around-the-clock care, taking turns tending to clients overnight. Brandi’s Hope is compensated for its services by the Mississippi Department of Medicaid. Soon after the four individuals moved in, the owners of the residence directly across the street, Andy and Sheryl Graf, filed a complaint in the Chancery Court of Lee County against Scioto and Brandi’s Hope.1 The Grafs alleged the residence on Lot 62 was being used for business purposes, which violated the protective covenants. The Grafs sought a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief. Brandi’s Hope asked the Mississippi Supreme Court to focus on how its sublessees used the home as their residence, and insisted the fact these men received round-the-clock residential support services from Brandi’s Hope did not change the residential character of the men’s use. The Supreme Court determined the chancery court did not err by declaring that Brandi’s Hope’s commercial use violated the clear and unambiguous intent of the protective covenants. View "Scioto Properties SP-16, LLC et al. v. Graf" on Justia Law
Mississippi v. Long Beach Harbor Resort, LLC
Long Beach Harbor Resort, LLC (the Resort), leased a parcel of land located on the Public Trust Tidelands from the City of Long Beach. The Mississippi Supreme Court was asked to determine whether the Resort is required to enter into a separate lease with the Secretary of State for the use of the tidelands property or whether the Resort already had a valid lease allowing use of the tidelands in question. The Court found that the State of Mississippi had, through its Boundary Agreement and Tidelands Lease with the City of Long Beach, ratified the prior lease entered into between the City and the Resort. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the chancery court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the Resort and found that the Resort had a valid tidelands lease as ratified by the Secretary of State. View "Mississippi v. Long Beach Harbor Resort, LLC" on Justia Law
City of Gulfport v. Cowan Road & Hwy 90, LLC, et al.
In 2008, the City of Gulfport undertook a project to replace the infrastructure associated with its water and sewer systems relating to damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The repair project involved federal, state, and local agencies and ultimately cost approximately $85 million to complete. The original design of the Area 3B project, the sewer infrastructure that crossed the Cowan Road property located north of U.S. Highway 90 and east of Highway 605 were to be replaced, and the new infrastructure was to be installed within the City’s existing easements across the properties. The Cowan Road property at issue was located in the Area 3B geographic zone. Robert “Kris” Riemann, P.E., then-director of the City’s department of public works, was notified that John Felsher had inquired about relocating the sewer infrastructure in Area 3B. Based on an agreement with Felsher to relocate the utilities, the City had the Area 3B design drawings redrafted to move the utilities. The City's project manager was notified that the discovery of underground telephone lines and other utilities required that the sewer line being relocated had to cut the northwest corner of the property. Cowan Road filed a complaint in the Chancery Court of Harrison County, Mississippi, advancing a claim for inverse condemnation against the City. The chancery court transferred the case to the Special Court of Eminent Domain in Harrison County. Due to the jurisdictional limits of county court, the case ended up in Harrison County Circuit Court. The circuit court entered an order granting the motion for partial summary judgment filed by the City on the issue of the date of the taking. The parties eventually settled the reverse condemnation claim, and the City agreed to pay $100,000 to Cowan Road & Hwy 90, LLC, for the improper and unlawful taking of its property. The issue before the Mississippi Supreme Court centered on the circuit court's grant of attorneys' fees and expenses: Gulfport argued that Cowan Road should not have been allowed to recover attorneys’ fees under Section 43-37-9. Finding that the statute applied and fees were appropriate, the Supreme Court affirmed. However, the Court found the trial judge abused his discretion by disallowing requests for postjudgment interest. View "City of Gulfport v. Cowan Road & Hwy 90, LLC, et al." on Justia Law
Lake Serene Property Owners Association, Inc. v. Esplin
This appeal presented a question of first impression in Mississippi as to whether short-term rentals of private homes through online services such as Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway were residential uses of property for the purposes of a restrictive covenant. The trial court’s finding that Clyde Esplin’s use of his property was residential and that short-term rentals were allowed under the covenants was affirmed as was the trial court's finding that the amended bylaws restricting property rentals were invalid. View "Lake Serene Property Owners Association, Inc. v. Esplin" on Justia Law