Three Recent Decisions Involving Procedural Due Process and the “Meaningful Hearing” Requirement from AL, MO and GA

This post was authored by Amy Lavine, Esq. In order to provide a meaningful opportunity to be heard, zoning procedures may require a hearing to be held before the local decision-making body, rather than by a planning commission or another local land use agency. Boards and agencies may be authorized to conduct the hearing in some cases even if they’re not the ultimate decision maker, but when this is the case, they still have to ensure that interested parties have a meaningful opportunity to express their opinions. What exactly constitutes a meaningful hearing can be difficult to pin down, but three recent cases from Alabama, Missouri, and Georgia help provide some guidance. In Birmingham Planning Commission v. Laird, 2018 WL 1025031 (AL Civ App. 2/23/18), the court reversed the decision of a planning commission made on appeal from the subdivision committee. The ordinances at issue allowed the planning commission to hear appeals ab initio, but there was no evidence that it…

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