Cleveland MHC, LLC v. City of Richland

163 So. 3d 284 (2015)

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Cleveland MHC, LLC v. City of Richland

Mississippi Supreme Court
163 So. 3d 284 (2015)

Facts

Cleveland MHC, LLC (Cleveland) (plaintiff) owned Cleveland Mobile Home Community, which contained spaces for 138 mobile homes and had operated since the 1950s. The lots within the mobile-home community were owned by Cleveland and were rented to tenants. In 1975, the City of Richland (Richland) (defendant) incorporated, and the mobile home community became part of the city. The mobile-home community was zoned I-1, or light industrial. Richland’s ordinances prohibited residential use of industrial property, and therefore use of the property as a mobile-home community was nonconforming. Richland’s ordinances permitted nonconforming uses to continue until their removal but prohibited the expansion, extension, or enlargement of nonconforming uses. The mobile-home community existed as a nonconforming use for several decades. During this time, several mobile homes were removed from the property and replaced. In April 2011, Richland informed Cleveland that it would begin enforcing the zoning ordinance. According to Richland’s interpretation of the ordinance, each lot within the mobile home community was a separate nonconforming use. Therefore, if an existing mobile home was removed from the property, it could not be replaced. Cleveland appealed Richland’s decision to the Board of Aldermen, which upheld the decision. The Mississippi Court of Appeals reversed Richland’s decision, reasoning that the nonconforming-use ordinance applied to the mobile-home community as a whole rather than to the individual lots within the community. According to the court, individual mobile homes could be removed and replaced as long as the mobile home community itself was not expanded. Richland appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Coleman, J.)

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