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Baymeadows, LLC v. City of Ridgeland

Supreme Court of Mississippi

February 6, 2014

BAYMEADOWS, LLC, A MISSISSIPPI LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY d/b/a BAYMEADOWS APARTMENTS
v.
THE CITY OF RIDGELAND, MISSISSIPPI

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 07/13/2012

MADISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. JOHN HUEY EMFINGER

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: J. LAWSON HESTER.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: JERRY L. MILLS JAMES H. GABRIEL JOHN P. SCANLON.

BEFORE DICKINSON, P.J., KITCHENS AND CHANDLER, JJ.

DICKINSON, PRESIDING JUSTICE

¶1. The Board of Aldermen for the City of Ridgeland ("the Board") denied Baymeadows, LLC's proposed repair plans to correct 1, 478 cited code violations, and Baymeadows appealed the Board's decision. We hold that the Board did not adequately state its rationale for denying the proposed plans, and we remand for the Board either to issue Baymeadows a permit or provide an appropriate factual basis for its denial.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. Baymeadows, LLC ("Baymeadows") owns Baymeadows Apartments, a 264-unit apartment complex located in the City of Ridgeland ("Ridgeland"). Baymeadows purchased the property from Ridgeland Group, LLC, in 1998 and owned the property until its foreclosure in August 2013. On June 10, 2010, Ridgeland provided Baymeadows written notice and an order to correct 1, 478 property and maintenance code violations. Baymeadow appealed the violations to the Board, which stayed any enforcement action until the disposition of the appeal. On August 24, 2010, after a lengthy hearing, the Board denied Baymeadows' appeal, and Baymeadows took no further action.

¶3. After it failed to correct the violations, on February 2, 2011, Ridgeland commenced a criminal action against Baymeadows in the Municipal Court of the City of Ridgeland. A Ridgeland Department of Community Development code enforcement officer swore to 1, 478 citations before the municipal court, and each alleged a violation of certain provisions of an unspecified municipal code. On April 14, 2011, Ridgeland withdrew all 1, 478 citations previously filed, and it filed 1, 478 new citations under the correct provisions of the City of Ridgeland Property and Maintenance Code. Ridgeland then served Baymeadows notice concerning the new citations.

¶4. Prior to the adjudication of these violations, on April 21, 2011, the municipal court accepted Baymeadows into the Pretrial Diversion Program so that it might avoid prosecution of the code violations. Baymeadows signed a Pretrial Diversion Agreement ("PDA"), which specified that Baymeadows must meet certain minimum requirements before submitting its repair plans to the Board. In relevant part, the PDA stated:

Baymeadows, LLC will submit by May 10, 2011, for approval its proposal for construction work and repairs to the Baymeadows Apartments to the Architectural Review Board, which submission shall include the following minimum requirements: (a) Site Plan; (b) Construction Phasing Plan/Safety Plan; (c) Erosion Control Plan and SWPPP; (d) Drainage Plan; (e) Landscape Plan; (f) Lighting Plan; (g) Architectural Rendering; (h) Interior Remodeling Plan; (i) Material and Color Sample Board. Baymeadows, LLC will conduct a camera inspection of all sanitary sewer lines on the West portion of the Baymeadows Apartments and, on the east portion of the property, only as to those sanitary sewer lines servicing Building 16, with a repair plan by June 7, 2011.

The PDA went on to state that:

If a definitive and mutually acceptable agreement in all respects is reached between the City of Ridgeland and Baymeadows, LLC, with formal approval of the Architectural review committee and . . . the Board of Aldermen . . . no later than June 15, 2011, Baymeadow shall immediately apply for a ...

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