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Snake River Brewing Company v. Town of Jackson

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Snake River Brewing Company appealed a judgment that disallowed them to institute a parking option that was allowed prior to the institution of a new zoning ordinance.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    Old uses for a zoning ordinance can continue if they are not consistent with new zoning ordinances.

    Facts.

    Snake River Brewing Company (Company) obtained a building permit in Jackson where they were required to choose from on-site parking, off-site parking, and fee in-lieu-of parking. The Company initially chose the on-site and off-site parking. After amending its zoning ordinances, Jackson no longer allowed the fee in-lieu-of parking. After expanding, the Company tried to utilize the fee in-lieu-of parking, and Jackson did not allow the Company to make the adjustment, claiming that they should have instituted the fee in-lieu-of parking initially. The court granted summary judgment to Jackson and the Company appealed.

    Issue.

    Can old uses for a zoning ordinance continue if they are not consistent with new zoning ordinances?

    Held.

    Yes. The judgment of the lower court is reversed. The state cannot take away the Company’s use of the fee in-lieu-of parking because the Company did not abandon the fee in-lieu-of parking option.

    Discussion.

    Previous uses of a zoning ordinance that were permitted may continue when a new zoning ordinance is instituted, until that previous use is abandoned. When a new zoning ordinance is instituted, there are often buildings that do not comply with the regulations and a zoning regulation cannot take away someone’s private property rights. A previous use is considered abandoned when there is both the intent to abandon the use and the property owner renounces his use.


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