Last week, we discussed the new Ready Mix v Jefferson County case, 2012 WL 3757025, decided by the Tennessee Supreme Court. One of the most interesting aspects of the case to me is the issue of exhaustion of administrative remedies. When must an applicant appeal to the zoning board before going to Court? This question is a bit more difficult to answer than it should be. Back in 1992, the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled in a somewhat similar case:
. . . we find that the landowners have a right to obtain the board of zoning appeals' interpretation of their rights under the state laws and zoning ordinances pertaining to the erection and maintenance of a billboard on their property. We also find that review by the board of zoning appeals would be efficient and effective. Accordingly, we concur with the trial court's dismissal of the landowners' complaint because they have not exhausted their remedies before the board of zoning appeals.