The 3d DCA Makes a Good, But Tough Call on “Reverse Spot Zoning”
In this “reverse spot zoning” case, the circuit court had found that a single family home surrounded by non-residential uses was entitled to receive office zoning. The 3d DCA upheld the circuit court.
The dissent questions the decision because the “group homes” on at least one side of the property are classified as residential uses. The dissent also takes the circuit court and majority opinion to task for not simply looking at whether “competent substantial evidence” supported the denial. The dissent uses the circuit court’s detailed examination of the evidence for “reverse spot zoning” as sufficient in and of itself that the circuit court impermissibly reweighed the evidence.
The problem with the dissent’s position is that if the Board was legally incorrect in denying the rezoning because the evidence established that the denial would be “reverse spot zoning,” the circuit court would be obliged to cite all the evidence demonstrating the Board’s error. Under the dissent’s approach, if there was evidence to support a reason for denial, the circuit court would err in examining evidence proving that the denial was legally impermissible.
The dissent’s position demonstrates that the current standards of certiorari review are simply too lax and too deferential to the local government position to provide any meaningful judicial review.