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SUZANNE N. SAUNDERS v. CITY OF JACKSON

JULY 15, 1987

SUZANNE N. SAUNDERS
v.
CITY OF JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE HAWKINS, P.J., DAN LEE AND GRIFFIN, JJ.

DAN LEE, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

At issue in the present case is the proper zoning classification to be applied to the property at 4630 Old Canton Road in the City of Jackson. The property is presently zoned R-1A Single-Family Residential. Suzanne N. Saunders, the appellant, is seeking to rezone the property to a classification of C-1A Restricted Commercial for the purpose of locating her law office there. The Jackson City Council denied her application to rezone and the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County affirmed that denial. Mrs. Saunders appeals assigning the following errors:

I. In refusing to rezone the subject property from a classification of R-1A Single Family Residential to a classification of C-1A Restricted Commercial, the Jackson City Council acted in an arbitrary, capricious, discriminatory, and unreasonable manner, without any substantial basis in evidence for its decision. The City Council ignored the fact that the appellant proved change in the neighborhood and a public need for C-1A Restricted Commercial rezoning. The Circuit Court erred in not reversing on this point.

 II. The Jackson City Council, by keeping the subject property in a residential classification, has effectively prevented any reasonable use thereof and has thus engaged in a confiscatory taking in violation of due process of law. The Circuit Court erred in not so finding.

 III. The Circuit Court erred in finding that the rezonings on the east side of Old Canton Road south of the subject property were "immaterial" to the present case and that the decision of the City Council was at least fairly debatable.

 We affirm.

 FACTS

 We deal here with the question of whether the City of Jackson properly denied a request to rezone a parcel of property located in northeast Jackson.

 The property at issue is a two-story colonial brick home of the former Governor Ross R. Barnett containing 7,000 square feet of floorspace, and was built in 1964. The appraised value of the property on July 5, 1982 was $355,000. However, because Governor Barnett is a man of advanced years who is in ill health, it became necessary in late 1983 for him to move from his home at 4630 Old Canton Road into a nursing care facility. The Barnett home has now been vacant for some time; it is deteriorating and the cost of renovation needed to make the house a suitable residence has been estimated at $55,000.

 The home was listed with a realtor on August 6, 1982, however, no residential buyers were forthcoming.

 The reasons behind the lack of potential buyers was the focal point of the request for rezoning.

 At the time the rezoning request was heard, appellant Suzanne N. Saunders held an option to purchase the subject property, the option being dependent upon the rezoning of the property to a classification of C-1A Restricted Commercial. *fn1 This classification, which was placed into the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Jackson by a 1980 amendment, allows professional office and limited retail uses within a renovated residential structure, but the residential character of the exterior must be maintained. At a public hearing, Mrs. Saunders outlined her plans to comply with these restrictions if the rezoning was granted.

 There is considerable development on commercially zoned property on the west side of Old Canton Road. Southwest across Old Canton Road from the subject property and within easy view are Maywood Mart and Highland Village, two of the busier shopping areas in the City of Jackson. A short distance to the north of the subject property, on the side of Old Canton Road opposite the subject property, is the LeFleur Square area containing numerous recently constructed professional offices. Included in this intense development is a complex called One LeFleur Square. Mrs. Saunders' office at the time this application was heard was in this complex, not far from the Barnett property. There is more intensive commercial development further north and west.

 Immediately west, across Old Canton Road from the Barnett property, is Maywood Subdivision, which is bounded on three sides by the commercially zoned areas mentioned and bounded on the east by Old Canton Road.

 Immediately behind and to either side of the Barnett property is property zoned R-1A Single Family Residential. However, in the protracted area north along the east side of Old Canton Road, the same side on which sits the Barnett property, there are areas zoned for multi-family residential and general commercial uses.

 To the south of the Barnett property, along the east side of Old Canton Road, the R-1A Single Family Residential Zone extends south of Northside Drive for a distance and from there moving south begins a Multi-Family Residential zoned area. One exception to the residential zone bordering the Barnett property on three sides is a special use exception granted the owners of property

 only two lots to the south along the east side of Old Canton Road. This is the lot located at the corner of Northside Drive and Old Canton Road. On December 11, 1975, Lynton B. Cooper Associates, P.A., Architects, was granted a special use exception to operate an office in a residence on this property. This exception is not a rezoning, it must be annually renewed and is non-transferable. The renewal was granted continually through the time this application was heard.

 Traffic around the Barnett property is relatively dense. The Mississippi State Highway Department is building a flyover to Interstate Highway 55 connecting Old Canton Road with the West Frontage Road, thereby allowing direct ...


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