Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ransom School Update

The Ransom School case was argued before the Tennessee Court of Appeals yesterday and it will be interesting to see what the Court ultimately rules. we have discussed the case previously on several other occasions; see here and here and here. So far, the owners of the property had been unsuccessful in getting the Metro Historical Zoning Commission or the trial court to agree that there is an economic hardship sufficient to justify some demolition of the school itself. The latest plan does not call for the entire school be demolished, but only at a portion so as to make redevelopment of the property economically feasible. The trial court felt that the economic hardship provisions of the Historic Zoning Ordinance were entirely discretionary. The difficulty is that under the circumstances, the property owner lost approximately 40% of the density of the property immediately after purchasing it from Metro when Metro rezoned the property and lowered the density from 18 to 11 units. It is hard to see how the decision concerning economic hardship can be discretionary under such circumstances. Only time will tell.

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