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Stuttering Foundation, Inc. v. Glynn County

Court: Georgia Supreme Court
Case Number: 301 Ga. 492
Decision Date: June 19, 2017
Case Type: Zoning
The Georgia Supreme Court held that a tenant who held a five-year lease on a property did not have an interest in the property and therefore did not have standing ot challenge a rezoning decision and could not rely on restrictive covenants burdening the property to establish standing. The Stuttering Foundation was a tenant in office space in Glynn County which was owned by Lucas Properties. Lucas filed an application for rezoning for the purpose of building an addition on a building on the property. The Foundation opposed the new development and filed a petition for review of the rezoning application and, in the alternative, mandamus to reverse the county's approval. The trial court granted Lucas's motion to dismiss and the Foundation appealed. 

The Georgia Supreme Court addressed the trial court's ruling that the Foundation, as a tenant, did not have standing to challenge the rezoning decision and was not entitled to mandamus relief against the county. The Court held that a lease "creates a right to possess and enjoy the use of real property, but it does not convey an estate or interest in real property." As a result, the Court held that the Foundation did not have standing. The Court did hold that the Foundation was not without remedy as it could still pursue an action against Lucas if the Foundation's usufruct in the property was damaged by the rezoning. The Court also held that mandamus relief would only be available if the Foundation could show that there was no other legal remedy available and that they had a clear legal right to such relief, which they could not do. 

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