Maine Supreme Court Upholds Conditional Rezoning: What it means for Municipalities
The Maine Supreme Court issued a decision last week that upholds a municipality’s authority to conditionally rezone property, provided that the decision is rationally based upon the record evidence. In Charles Remmel, et al. v. City of Portland, et al., the Court upheld the conditional rezoning of Williston-West Church – a large, historically significant church located in a residential zone. The church was purchased by a business owner who intended to use the property as a residence for his family and office space for his business.
The conditional rezoning permits limited office use located in the first floor of the parish house. The office use is limited in size, number of employees and type of business, requires off-street parking and requires an affiliation between the business owner and property owner. The Court found that the City had a rational basis for concluding that the conditional rezoning was consistent with the comprehensive plan and existing and permitted uses in the original zone. In its decision, which reversed the decision of the Superior Court, the Court reaffirmed the deference owed to a zoning decision by a municipality because it is a legislative act.