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Article Title

Zoning and Land Use Law

Publication Date

1-2020

Document Type

Survey Article

Abstract

With the close of the survey period for the seventy-first (71st) volume of the Mercer Law Review, development throughout the State of Georgia continued to thrive. While traditional brick-and-mortar commercial development is evolving, residential and industrial development remains steady. As a result, zoning challenges continued to present issues for resolution by Georgia’s appellate courts. This Article identifies important zoning and land use decisions of the Georgia Supreme Court (supreme court) and Georgia Court of Appeals (court of appeals) issued between June 1, 2018 and May 31, 2019.

Generally, the decisions by Georgia’s appellate courts in zoning related cases continued the transformation of legislative “zoning decisions” defined by Georgia’s Zoning Procedures Law (ZPL)2 into quasi-judicial, administrative actions, imposing greater procedural and evidentiary requirements for zoning hearings and superior court appeals. However, with respect to quasi-judicial zoning decisions, the appellate courts applied the “any evidence” rule to give greater weight to lay witness opponents and greater deference to local governments. As discussed herein, these simultaneous trends are contradictory and problematic because zoning hearings have never been conducted in a manner comparable to administrative law proceedings. As a result, notable cases decided during the survey period were delivered by splintered divisions of the court of appeals, resulting in only physical precedents.3 To begin, this Article addresses important legislative developments related to the application of sovereign immunity to actions brought against local government officials in zoning decisions.

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Land Use Law Commons

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