So if the facts and the Zoning Ordinance are so clear, what went wrong? The apparent willingness of the Zoning Administrator to advance a particular agenda that has the effect of limiting access to white affluent neighborhoods to those of lesser means has resulted in support of her agenda by her deputies and staff and surprisingly by the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) and a majority of the District Supervisors.
So, how did she do it? Using the County's system of "complaint-based enforcement" she chose to cite two residents who were renting their homes on a short term basis. It is important to note that the two residents she chose had only recently received complaints, that is, there were many others who had been similarly renting for much longer and had received more complaints. She, her deputy, her staff, the BZA, and even at least one Supervisor were told that the complaints were discriminatory in nature and in all cases the concerns of the two cited residents were incredulously ignored or were told "not to go there." The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and its state counterpart have since started separate investigations.
In order to issue the two citations, the Zoning Administrator wrongfully took the Zoning Ordinance defined term "DWELLING" which clearly does not best describe the two structures she cited, and then fabricated a violation for a structure that did not apply. What made the term "DWELLING" suitable for her scheme, is that its use is not permitted for "transient" occupancy. Even though the Zoning Ordinance does not define the word "transient," the Zoning Administrator's Notice of Violation (NOV) states that she had "opined" previously that any use less than 30 days is considered "transient" and is therefore not permitted. So you have a mischaracterization of the structure followed by an opinion that the use for that other structure is transient and therefore not permitted. For the NOV to have made any sense you would have had to first believe that the structure in question was NOT a Dwelling, Single-Family Detached and then that the use violated the transiency restriction for that other structure.
You can't make this stuff up!
Needless to say, both cited residents took exception to this blatant abuse of power and appealed their citations to the BZA not realizing that the BZA had no intention of overturning the Zoning Administrator's citations. This was made abundantly clear when the BZA Vice Chairman, on the record, mistook the facts of one case for the other and then after it was brought to the attention of the BZA in a request for reconsideration, the request went unfulfilled.
After the BZA upheld the Zoning Administrator's decisions, both residents petitioned the 19th Circuit Court. The County immediately opposed the petitioners by submitting a Plea in Bar in one case and moving for a dismissal in the other. Both actions were denied by the Court.
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