BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, HAWKINS AND PRATHER
HAWKINS, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:
This is an appeal by the City of Jackson and property owners from a judgment of the Circuit Court reversing a denial by the City Council of Jackson of an application to rezone a small tract.
The only issue on this appeal is whether the City Council exeeded its authority in denying the application to rezone a 1.5-acre tract from single-family residential to a townhouse residential zone. Persuaded the City Council in reaching its decision had ample factual basis and followed the applicable zoning law, we are compelled to reverse the judgment of the Circuit Court and reinstate the order of the City Council.
Pear Orchard Road runs into Old Canton Road. At this intersection Old Canton Road runs in a northeasterly direction and Pear Orchard Road runs in a northwesterly direction. At the southwest corner of this intersection where the streets make a slightly greater than ninety degree angle, there is a five-acre tract of land purchased several years ago by Wheatley Place, Inc., a corporate realty developer.
Old Canton Road has a seventy-foot right-of-way of which twenty-four feet is hard surfaced; Pear Orchard Road has a fifty-foot right-of-way of which twenty-eight feet is hard surfaced.
The five-acre tract is zoned R-1 Residential which limits construction to single-family residences, on lots of a minimum size of 7,500 square feet.
Directly across Pear Orchard Road on the northeast is a three- or four-acre tract zoned commercial. Also, due east of the intersection the area is zoned commercial. All of the remainder of the surrounding area is zoned R-1 Residential.
Wheatley sold the west 3.5 acres of its five-acre tract to a church, which planned to construct a church building in compliance with the zoning ordinance.
The remaining 1.5 acres is of a rectangular shape, with approximately four hundred feet fronting on Old Canton Road and approximately 160 fronting on Pear Orchard Road. This is the area in controversy.
On June 15, 1981, Wheatley petitioned the City to rezone this 1.5 acre from R-1 Residential to R-3 Residential.
R-3 Residential does not require any space between the structures and lot boundary, and permits the construction of townhouses on a minimum lot size of 2,400 square feet. The tract could accomodate six residences under R-1 classification, but under R-3 fourteen townhouses could be built.
Prior to this application there had been no change in zoning in this particular area.
It was the contention of Wheatley in its application, supporting documents and at the hearing that the amended zoning would clearly permit the highest and best use of this tract, further, that this would form a buffer or transitional area from the commercially zoned area to the R-1 single-family area which surrounded at least three-fourths of the tract's perimeter. It was a further contention of Wheatley that this rezoning would not decrease the ...