At 1:30 the court will hear the case of City of Jackson v. Ben Allen Individually and as President of Jackson Downtown Partners, Inc. involving the zoning of a tiny parcel of land on the NE corner of State and South Streets. It was once used as a gas station and then a used car lot. In 2002, the City was interested in a plan to develop several blocks of this area as a mixed -use residential and light commercial use called Old Capital Green. The City re-zoned the area as OCG Mixed Use District (MUD). The lot at issue was allowed to continue to operate as a car lot (it was “grandfathered”) but the owner ceased using it as a car lot in 2013. The project never took off. The zoning, however, remained Mixed Use. The current owner of the property, James Miles LLC, and the lessor, Maurice Hogan, petitioned the City to have the lot re-zoned C-3 classification to again allow for a car lot. The Planning Board said no but the lot owner appealed and the City Council voted to allow the rezoning. It was only then that Ben Allen and Downtown Jackson Partners got involved and they appealed the City’s decision to Circuit Court. The City moved to dismiss arguing that Allen and DJP lacked standing. The court sided with Allen and DJP reversing the City’s decision to rezone the property. The City appealed.
The City raises the following issues:
1.The trial court was without subject-matter jurisdiction to reverse the City Council as no proper and signed Bill of Exceptions had been filed.
2. The Appellant, Allen, lacked standing to bring the appeal.
3. The owner and lessor had a basic due process right to be joined in the appeal or at least to have sufficient notice thereof.
4. The case was erroneously heard by Judge Gowan when in fact, the case had been assigned to Judge Weill.
Watch the argument here