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Thread: Trucking business - spot zoning?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Anybody see a problem here?

    Situation:

    An individual has been operating a trucking business from his farm in an adjacent municipality. The agricultural zoning does not permit this use, yet it has continued for several years. The master plan for the town shows future residental development in this location and all around it. The city's master plan is in agreement, showing future residential development. The property is even in the city's sewer service area (urban service area). Finally confronting the issue of an illegal use, the owner applied to rezone several acres to a manufacturing district. The city was never notified that this item was up for consideration at the meeting. The Land Use Committee recommended approval.

    Is this spot zoning?

    Does it fail to meet the consistency requirement in state statutes?

    Could the decision (if it is approved by the county board) be successfully challenged in court?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian SlaveToTheGrind's avatar
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    I would consider it spot zoning since it is to benefit one parcel and one owner. And the proposed zone is not the same as the General Plan. The General Plan should be changed prior to any consideration of a rezone.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian martini's avatar
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    From my limited exposure, it does seem like spot zoning to me(what with all the history behind keeping the area residential). Not sure about WI's Consistency statutes though. I'd be willing to bet that it could go to court and be repealed.
    You're more boring than you know.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    I'm surprised he didn't try to get "grandfather claused" in because he had been operating this way for so long. Where were the zoning code officers for all of these years? Obviously they weren't doing their jobs.
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Re: Anybody see a problem here?

    Originally posted by Cardinal
    Is this spot zoning?

    Does it fail to meet the consistency requirement in state statutes?

    Could the decision (if it is approved by the county board) be successfully challenged in court?
    Yes, Yes, and Yes.

    Plus, I'd have the Common Council begin the process of enforcing its extraterritorial zoning powers and club the Town a good one. Even just the threat of removing their local control can make them back away.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    How do you define spot zoning?

    From my experience in PA, spot zoning is used to designate 1 or only a few parcels for certain "undesirable" land uses, thus meeting planning reqs to allow for all uses.

    Are your citys planning documents legal documents? Or are they simply a vision for future growth? Is your "sewer service area" only intended to serve residential development?

    What is this Land Use Committe you speak of? Any legal authority? Did the landowner go about the rezoning the right way?

    Sorry so many questions, just not familiar with the states planning regs, and I'm sure they are much different than the PA area since you're talking about county's with authority.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    I don't know the the rezoning of several acres can be considered spot zoning, particularly considering the the ultimate subdivision of this land (within a City) may include several properties owned by numerous entities. Therefore, it would not provide any single owner a right not conveyed on others in the vicinity.

    I don't know what the consistency standards are in Wisconsin. Unless state law requires or it is required pursuant to an intergovernmental agreement, the neighborhing jurisdiction may not be required to notify other jurisdictions.

    If the rezoning is directly inconsistent with the jurisdictions Plan, at a minimum they should concurrently approve a Comprehensive Plan amendment, which should not be taken lightly and should be subject to specific findings, but this is somewhat a political decision.

  8. #8

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    This is pretty much a classic example of spot zoning: a relatively small parcel, benefit primarily to one owner, and inconsistent with the local plan. It shouldn't be hard to challenge successfully.

  9. #9
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Counties don't have squat in Texas in terms of power, but I know how consistency rules work here for municipalities.

    Rezoning in Texas must be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan for the city. I don't know how things work up in the land of cheese, but I don't think the rezoning would fly down here.

    I have to wonder where the zoning enforcement officer has been that this use has gone on so long. Zoning to benefit a particular parcel inconsistent with the comprehensive plan and incompatible/inconsistent with surrounding land uses or proposed land uses sounds like spot zoning to me. Time to pull out the old case law book...

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  10. #10
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    What is this "consistency requirement in state statutes" you speak of.

    But seriously, probably 90-95 percent of the rezonings I do require an amendment to our Official Plan/Comp Plan/Development Plan (pick the one that fits). Our MDP is written to address the fact that it will change and what should be considered in making the changes.

    What you describe is typical here also. so and so, he's a good lad, just ignore it and don't woory he'll clean up and move if asked. 20 years later, after huge expansions and degradation of the neighbourhood, the problems hit.

    Here is an example of a scrap yard right in a predominately residential neighbourhood/fringe neighbourhood. Same general situation as described above.



    We ended up legalizing the use, because then we could regulate it better.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Several acres is a lot for spot zoning, but the proposed use is so different from the recommended use...I'd be concerned about the impact on the comp plan. Having a chunk of land that's several acres and intended for residential use go industrial/manufacturing is a significant change that could negatively impact surrounding properties as well as undermine the intentions of the comp plan.

    sorry, got into staff report mode there for a minute.
    I don't dream. I plan.

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