An Associate Municipal Judge should not serve on the City’s Grievance Committee.
|Administration, Municipal Court|
This case involves a dispute over whether the Fords’ residence on Hilton Head Island should be assessed at the 6 percent ratio instead of the 4percent ratio allowed for a legal residence. The Administrative Law Court held “(1) the Fords’ home was ineligible for the 4 percent ratio for 2008 because it was rented for more than 14 days and (2) the sole statutory exception to the general rule that rental property does not qualify for the 4 percent assessment ratio did not apply in this case.” The Court of Appeals agreed with the ALC stating further that “the legislature intended to grant the preferred assessment ratio only to those owner-occupants who limit the use of their legal residences to statutorily defined parameters.”
This case involves a dispute over the requirements for a candidate’s name to properly appear on a primary election ballet. The Supreme Court held “the unambiguous language and expression of legislative intent of § 8-13-1356(B) and (E) require an individual to file a Statement of Economic Interest at the same time and with the same official with whom a Statement of Intention of Candidacy is filed, and prohibit political party officials from accepting a SIC which is not accompanied by a SEI.” The Court demanded that the names of any non-exempt individuals who did not file with the appropriate political party a SEI simultaneously with a SIC be removed.
In Carolina Chloride, Inc. v. Richland County, the South Carolina Supreme Court held that a member of the public has no legal right to rely solely upon the representations of county personnel and should consult the official record to determine the legal zoning classification of property.
The Town of Mt. Pleasant appeals the circuit court’s order reversing Roberts’ municipal court conviction for driving under the influence on the ground the arresting officer’s vehicle was not equipped with a video camera as required in Section 56-5-2953 of the South Carolina Code. The circuit court specifically found that the videotaping requirements of Section 56-5-2953 were mandatory based on the court’s decision in City of Rock Hill v. Suchenski, 374 S.C. 12, 646 S.E.2d 879 (2007). The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s decision to reverse Roberts’ DUI conviction and dismissed the charge.
This case involves a dispute over the results of a town council election in Atlantic Beach, South Carolina, held on November 3, 2009. Carolyn Cole and Windy Price appeal the circuit court order affirming the Town of Atlantic Beach Municipal Election Commission’s decision to de-certify and order a new election for two Atlantic Beach town councilmember positions. The state Supreme Court reverses the circuit court order and concluded that the original certification of the election, declaring Cole and Price as the winners, should be restored.
This appeal is the culmination of the Town of James Island’s third attempt to incorporate into its own municipal body. The two previous attempts were invalidated by the Supreme Court in Glaze v. Grooms, 324 S.C. 249, 478 S.E.2d 841 (1996) and Kizer v. Clark, 360 S.C. 86, 600 S.E.2d 529 (2004).
Town of Rockville Design Review Board declined to allow Rockville Haven to construct a dock and walkway for which they had obtained a permit from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control - Office of Coastal Resource Management. The sole question before the court was whether there was evidence that the view across the marsh from the road would be impeded by Rockville Haven’s dock and walkway.
Sloan submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to Friends of the Hunley, Inc. a non-profit corporation dedicated to the recovery and conservation of the H.L. Hunley Confederate submarine, seeking a list of documents pertaining to Friends’ corporate structure and legal relationship with the Hunley Commission, a state agency. Sloan sued Friends for failure to comply with the FOIA. Friends argued initially that it did not have to release the records, but after suit was filed released the records. The Supreme Court determined that the release of the records meant there was no longer a case on which the court could rule, i.e., the case was moot. But that mootness did not preclude the award of attorney’s fees.
Two individuals on the same motorcycle were seriously injured in an auto accident when a traffic light malfunctioned in Inman. The at-fault party had minimal limits of insurance ($50,000), and the couple sued both the Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Safety for failure to prevent the accident. They alleged that DOT did not have a preventive maintenance program in place to routinely change the light bulbs in the traffic lights, and alleged DPS had not sent an officer to direct traffic at the light one hour and 27 minutes after a confirmed citizen’s call was made to DPS informing them of the malfunction. The original award for the injured couple was $1,875,000, which was reduced to the statutory maximum of $600,000 by the lower courts set forth in S.C. Code Ann. §15-78-120
. In this decision, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the state tort caps but redefined an “occurrence” so as to provide additional relief to the plaintiffs.
The Supreme Court denied relief to working retirees who sought relief after the legislature amended the working retirees statute to require the retirees to make retirement contributions without receiving additional service credit. The Court determined that no binding contract existed between the working retirees and the State, and that the State was not estopped from collecting contributions from the working retirees.
Where a town annexed property pursuant to the 100 percent method, private parties that did not own property in the annexed area lacked standing to challenge the annexation. Because the State presumptively owned the marshland in the annexed area, it had standing to challenge the annexation. Its signature was required under the 100 percent method. Because the statute of limitations applicable to annexation challenges had expired before the State sought to intervene, the State’s challenges were properly denied.
The Supreme Court of South Carolina affirmed a determination that the City’s public nuisance ordinance, which brought one of Norfolk’s bridges within the definition of a public nuisance, was preempted by federal law governing the operation and maintenance of railroad bridges.
The circuit court upheld the validity of properly recorded restrictive covenants agreed to between the City of Rock Hill and the developer of a subdivision. The covenants required subsequent property owners in the subdivision to sign an annexation petition in exchange for receiving water and sewer services from the City.
The Supreme Court of South Carolina held that the words “humiliate,” “insult” and “scare” in a city ordinance prohibiting certain public disturbances are not sufficiently definite to provide reasonable notice and that the section of the ordinance containing those words was therefore unconstitutional for vagueness.
Where Appellants (non-resident property owners) alleged Town had a duty to provide water/sewer service to their property, the Court of Appeals affirmed that Town’s status as designated management agency under the Clean Water Act did not create a duty to provide sewer service. Town’s ordinances also did not create a duty to provide water/sewer service to non-residents. Appellants sufficiently alleged facts showing that Town had a duty to provide services based on an easement. Appellants also sufficiently alleged claims for breach of contract, equal protection, estoppel, mandamus, injunction and declaratory relief.
|Utilities and Public Works|
Petitioners, who had been cited by the City of Myrtle Beach for violating a motorcycle helmet ordinance, sought a judgment declaring (1) that state law preempted the helmet ordinance, and (2) that a later ordinance repealing the administrative hearing system for motorcycle ordinance infractions caused the motorcycle ordinances to fail. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the helmet ordinance failed under implied field preemption and that it was impliedly repealed by the ordinance repealing the hearing system.
|Model Ordinances/Policies, Public Safety|
The South Carolina Court of Appeals held that a county could not begin directly billing a corporate property owner for the aggregate sewer service of every tenant in its complex, where the county previously had billed the tenants individually and where the restrictive covenants under which the corporation took title did not include that obligation.
|Utilities and Public Works|
The Supreme Court of South Carolina found that an ordinance rezoning property from agricultural to “planned development” under the Local Government Comprehensive Planning Enabling Act was invalid because it failed to satisfy the statutory requirements of the planned development process provided by the Act.
|Land Use Planning|