SHARON G. LEE AND HERBERT LEE, JR. APPELLANTS
CITY OF BYRAM, MISSISSIPPI, MAYOR RICHARD WHITE AND BOARD OF ALDERMEN OF THE CITY APPELLEES
OF JUDGMENT: 11/14/2016
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. HENRY L.
LACKEY TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANTS: JANE E. TUCKER EDWARD BLACKMON
HERBERT LEE JR.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: JOHN PRESTON SCANLON JERRY L. MILLS
GRIFFIS, P.J., FAIR AND TINDELL, JJ.
Sharon and Herbert Lee filed a "Verified Complaint for
Declaratory Relief, Injunctive Relief, Damages and Other
Relief, Including Declaring Invalid Zoning Ordinance . .
.," contending, among other things, they had not
received the required notice that the City of Byram intended
to consider rezoning certain property located near their
home. The Lees' complaint was filed about ten months
after the zoning decision, and the circuit court ultimately
dismissed the complaint after finding that it was not filed
as an appeal from the zoning decision within ten days, as
required by statute. We hold that this was in error because
under the recent Mississippi Supreme Court decision City
of Jackson v. Jordan, 202 So.3d 199, 204 (¶14)
(Miss. 2016), when the required notice is not given, an
appeal is not the exclusive remedy and the statutory time
limit for appeals does not apply.
The City of Byram incorporated in 2009 and adopted a
comprehensive zoning plan in 2011. At issue here is the
zoning of several parcels on Siwell Road, in the north part
of town. 4101 Siwell Road is the site of a used-car
dealership called "Hillcrest Motors." The site of
Hillcrest Motors had been zoned commercial by the county, but
it was zoned residential in Byram's new comprehensive
plan. The parties agree this was a mistake, and the Lees say
they have no objection to rezoning the Hillcrest Motors site.
The Hillcrest Motors site was owned by Hillcrest Motors'
proprietors, Brett and Joni Hutchins. A larger,
eighty-seven-acre parcel to the south was owned by
"Hillcrest Motors LLC" and zoned either residential
or agricultural in the Byram comprehensive plan.
The Lees contend that the City has repeatedly confused the
two parcels, since the Hutchinses own the site of Hillcrest
Motors and Hillcrest Motors LLC owns the land to the south.
In 2012 the City set out to correct the mistaken zoning of
the site of the dealership, but the ordinance it passed
identified the rezoned property only as "certain
property located on Siwell Road owned by Hillcrest
Motors." The Lees contend this language can only be
interpreted as referring to the eighty-seven-acre parcel, not
the site of Hillcrest Motors as the City may have intended.
Then, in 2013, the City rezoned a two-acre portion of the
eighty-seven acres, located at 4149 Siwell Road, where the
Hutchinses were building a dance studio. This property is
across the street from the Lees' home.
The City then moved to "correct" these rezonings
due to a number of errors in the first efforts; it re-rezoned
the sites of the dealership and the dance studio in late 2013
and early 2014, respectively. The 2013 and 2014 rezonings of
the dance-studio site are apparently being contested by the
Lees in separate, ongoing proceedings.
In 2015, the circuit court dismissed the Lees' 2013
complaint-the one that is the subject of this appeal-because
it was not filed as a timely appeal from the 2012 zoning
decision. The City contends that this was correct, a point we
reject because a timely appeal was precluded by the
City's failure to publish proper notice. The City also
contends that the 2013 and 2014 rezonings render the 2012
rezoning moot. Given the disconnect between the City's
assertions as to what the 2012 ordinance did and what it
actually says, we disagree on that point as well, and so we
reverse and remand for further proceedings.
1.Jurisdiction, Timeliness of Appeal, and ...