Zoning – Preexisting Nonconforming Use Not Established

Dixon v. City of Auburn, et al., [Ms. SC-2022-0741, Oct. 27, 2023] __ So. 3d ___ (Ala. 2023). The Court (Parker, C.J., and Stewart, Mitchell, and Cook, JJ., concur; Bryan, J., concurs specially, with opinion, which Wise and Mendheim, JJ., join; Shaw and Sellers, JJ., concur in the result) affirms the Lee Circuit Court’s summary judgment dismissing claims asserted by Steven Dixon challenging the validity and enforcement of a short-term rental ordinance enacted by the City of Auburn.

Dixon argues that the short-term-rental ordinance which prohibited him from renting the basement of his home on a short-term basis violated his rights to due process and equal protection, and that the City should be equitably estopped from enforcing the short-term-rental ordinance. Ms. *6.

On de novo review, the Court concludes (1) Dixon failed to show that his short-term rental use of the home’s basement was lawfully established before the City’s adoption of the ordinance, and thus did not qualify as a preexisting, nonconforming use, (2) Dixon’s “conclusory and generalized arguments” did not provide the Court contextual legal analysis to support his state equal protection claim, and (3) the City’s “failure to engage in any enforcement efforts against Dixon before the enactment of the short-term rental ordinance” does not provide a basis for estopping the defendants from enforcing the short-term rental ordinance. Ms. **11-15.

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