we have discussed this case previously, when the Tennessee Court of Appeals rendered its decision. See
My analysis at the time suggested that the decision of the Court of Appeals was consistent with previous appellate court decisions, but that those cases were decided incorrectly. I suggested that in cases where the land owner relied upon state statutory provisions such as Tenn Code Ann §13-7-208, it is inappropriate for a zoning board to be making a ruling on what is a matter of state statutory interpretation. Certainly, the local zoning board has the power and authority to interpret and construe the provisions of its own local zoning regulations. But that power and authority does not extend to state statutory law; it seems to me, that the judiciary should solely construe those provisions so that they remain reasonably uniform from Johnson City in the East to Memphis in the West.
I also indicated in that previous post, but I felt that it was unlikely that any court would so hold. I believed that the sheer weight of precedent would prevent the court from heading in another direction.
Well, the Tennessee Supreme Court has granted permission to appeal in this case, and maybe the Supreme Court is getting ready to head in another direction. It seems most logical that the court would grant permission to appeal only if there was some significant chance that it disagreed with the opinion below. This should be an interesting determination by the Supreme Court, and it continues the trend over the last several years which the current court has set, hearing more zoning and land use cases and providing answers for issues that up to now we have only been able to debate academically.