Relying on Zoning Letters? Beware…..


From the Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd P.A. website –

In Carolina Chloride, Inc. v. Richland County, Opinion No. 27013, the South Carolina Supreme Court held that a member of the public has no right to rely upon representations of county personnel regarding real property zoning classifications. In its July 2011 opinion, the Court held that the zoning classification of real property is a matter of law, rather than a matter of fact, and that a person cannot be liable for mistaken statements of law.

The lawsuit was brought by Carolina Chloride, Inc. (“Carolina Chloride”), a property owner who believed that its property was zoned M-2 based on a letter from the Richland County zoning administrator and the issuance of various permits and licenses indicating the property was zoned M-2. Carolina Chloride did not learn of its property’s true zoning status until a prospective buyer sought approval for expansion and was denied due to an RU classification. Although the property was subsequently re-zoned, Carolina Chloride sued the County, alleging that the County’s provision of inaccurate zoning information caused the transaction to fall through.


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