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Mayor and Board of Aldermen, City of Ocean Springs v. Homebuilders Association

Mississippi Supreme Court
932 So.2d 44 (2006)


After conducting an extensive needs study to determine the infrastructure costs incurred by the city related to new developments, the City of Ocean Springs (defendant) passed a number of impact-fee ordinances as part of its comprehensive plan. Such ordinances required payment by developers of certain “impact fees” to the city as a condition to permit approval. Impact fees were designed to defray costs expended by the city to accommodate new property developments, and were used by the city to fund its police and fire departments, and park, roadway, and water facility maintenance. Building permits were not issued to developers until all impact fees were paid. The Home Builders Association and Mississippi Association of Realtors (plaintiffs) appealed the city’s adoption of the impact-fee ordinances, contending that the fees really constituted impermissible taxes. The city argued that the ordinances were an appropriate use of the municipality’s police power and were authorized under the city’s Home Rule authority, or by general planning and zoning ordinances. The circuit court concluded that the impact-fee ordinances were void because they constituted unauthorized taxing measures by the city.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Randolph, J.)

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