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Denying Permit for Good Intentions

April 13th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Sometimes a local jurisdiction ends up getting in trouble for denying a permit though it had honorable intentions.  In Vineyard Investments LLC v. City of Madison, 999 So.2d 438(2009), the city denied an application for a building permit because there was concern that the premises would be used for an unlawful use.  The plaintiff did not have a license for its intended use, a package retail wine and spirits store though it eventually received one. The application complied with all building and zoning requirements.  However, as is often the case, the concern about a future unlawful use was based on speculation, not facts.  The court ruled that the permit should have been issued. The lesson to be learned from this is that you can’t deny a permit because you are afraid there might be a violation of the code in the future.  If the application meets the code, the permit should be issued.  The city can then monitor the use to make sure it remains lawful.

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