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Cochran v. Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals

Supreme Court of Virginia
594 S.E.2d 571 (Va. 2004)


Facts

This decision involves three consolidated cases in which residents applied for variances to town zoning laws. In the Fairfax case, the ordinance required that structures be at least 15 feet from the property line. Bratti sought to build a house that would come within 13 feet of the property line on one side. The board of zoning appeals (BZA) granted the variance and the circuit court affirmed the decision. A group of neighbors appealed. In the Pulaski case, the ordinance required that the sideyard that faces the side street in corner lots be at least 15 feet from the principal structure on the lot. The Nunleys proposed to build a garage that would necessitate the removal of the requirement. The BZA granted the variance and the circuit court affirmed the decision. A group of neighbors appealed. Finally, in the Virginia Beach case, the ordinance limited the size of accessory structures on a lot to a certain square footage or percentage of the principal structure. The Penningtons sought to build a shed that would have been bigger than the permitted size. The BZA denied the variance, but the circuit court reversed, allowing the variance. A neighbor appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Russell, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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