Division II: Gun Club Keeps Non-Conforming Use, but Must Abate Nuisance by Expansion
This is a land use case, and those of you who follow my blog know how I feel about that. Therefore, I will just leave you with the intro, which should clear up how this goes:
We hold that ( 1) the Club' s commercial use of the property and dramatically increased noise levels since 1993, but not the club' s change in its operating hours, constituted an impermissible expansion of its nonconforming use; ( 2) the Club' s development work unlawfully violated various County land use permitting requirements; ( 3) the excessive noise, unsafe conditions, and unpermitted development work constituted a public nuisance; ( 4) the language in the property' s deed of sale from the County to the Club did not preclude the County from challenging the Club' s expansion of use, permit violations, and nuisance activities; and ( 5) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in entering an injunction restricting the use of certain firearms at the shooting range and limiting the Club' s operating hours to abate the public nuisance. We affirm the trial court on these issues except for the trial court' s ruling that the Club' s change in operating hours constituted an impermissible expansion of its nonconforming use. We reverse on that issue.
However, we reverse the trial court' s ruling that terminating the Club' s nonconforming use status as a shooting range is a proper remedy for the Club' s conduct. Instead, we hold that the appropriate remedy involves specifically addressing the impermissible expansion of the Club' s nonconforming use and unpermitted development activities while allowing the Club to operate as a shooting range. Accordingly, we vacate the injunction precluding the Club' s use of the property as a shooting range and remand for the trial court to fashion an appropriate remedy for the Club' s unlawful expansion of its nonconforming use and for the permitting violations.
Also, land use attorneys are nerds!