COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: JACKSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/06/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. KATHY KING JACKSON. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: REVERSED BOARD OF SUPERVISORS' DECISION TO REZONE CERTAIN PROPERTY.
FOR APPELLANT: STEPHEN WALKER BURROW.
FOR APPELLEES: MARIA M. COBB.
BEFORE LEE, C.J., ISHEE AND FAIR, JJ.
¶1. In this case, we must determine whether the trial court erred in reversing the local board of supervisors' decision to rezone a parcel of property located in Vancleave, Mississippi. Finding no error, we affirm.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
¶2. On January 10, 2012, Randy Wrigley submitted a request to the Jackson
County Planning Department (JCPD) seeking a change in zoning from A-1, Agricultural Residential District, to A-3, Agricultural-Residential District (Smaller-Lot Development). The parcel of property contained approximately 163.28 acres and was located in Vancleave, Mississippi. The property was owned by Breland Homes LLC, and was to be converted into a subdivision.
¶3. After a hearing, the JCPD denied Wrigley's request by a vote of 5-2. On a second motion to change the zoning from A-1 to A-2, Agricultural-Residential (Large-Lot Development), the JCPD also denied this request, by a vote of 4-3.
¶4. Wrigley appealed the JCPD's decision to the Jackson County Board of Supervisors (the Board). Wrigley's appeal only requested that the Board consider rezoning the property from A-1 to A-2. After a hearing, the Board took the matter under advisement and ultimately voted to approve the zoning request.
¶5. David and Mary Ann Harris, who own property adjacent to the property at issue, filed an appeal to the Jackson County Circuit Court. Wrigley was granted leave to file an amicus curiae brief in the appeal. The trial court reversed the Board's decision, finding that its decision was not supported by clear and convincing evidence. Wrigley filed an appeal arguing that the trial court applied the wrong legal standard, and erred in reversing the Board's decision.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
¶6. This Court will only set aside a zoning decision if the record clearly shows the decision " to be arbitrary, capricious, discriminatory, illegal[,] or without [a] substantial evidentiary basis." Drews v. City of Hattiesburg, 904 So.2d 138, 140 (¶ 5) (Miss. 2005). " Where the point at issue is 'fairly debatable,' we will not disturb the zoning authority's action." Id. Because the governing body's decision carries a presumption of validity, " the burden of proof is on the party asserting its invalidity." Id. As for questions of law, the ...