Regular readers use Land Use Law Alert to:
A landowner convinced the Supreme Court of Georgia that a county zoning ordinance stripping it of a vested right to develop a landfill on its property was retroactive and thus unconstitutional as applied.
Facts: In 1989, Southern States-Bartow County, Inc. (Southern States) applied to develop and operate a landfill on its property in Bartow County, Georgia. A few years earlier, Southern States' predecessor in interest acquired a certificate of zoning compliance from the County. The certificate indicated that a landfill was a permissible use under the zoning scheme.
In 1990, Southern States asked for another compliance certificate as a required component of its landfill development application. The County denied the request because the zoning ordinance didn't allow a landfill on the site. Southern States then sued the County. While that suit was pending, the Supreme Court of Georgia declared the County's zoning ordinance invalid because it hadn't been adopted according to the required statutory procedures.
In 1993, the County enacted a new zoning ordinance with the provision at issue in this case. That provision stated that any ''lawful use of or vested right'' to use property that was in place when the ordinance was adopted could continue, even if the use didn't conform to the 1993 zoning ordinance. However, this nonconforming use provision had an exception: For a vested right in a nonconforming use to be protected by it, a landowner had to ''actually commence'' the use within one year of the new ordinance'[...]