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FRED R. ROSEN v. SHARON UNDERKOFFLER, ET AL.

Zoning — Home business — Contracting business or professional office

Section 158.071(E) of the Carroll County Zoning Ordinance (the “Ordinance”) permits offices for certain types of professions as accessory uses in residences located within the County’s Conservation District. Fred R. Rosen’s residence is located in the Conservation District and he wishes to continue to operate his business, Diversified Technologies, Inc., from his home. Mr. Rosen filed an application with the Carroll County Zoning Administrator seeking a ruling that his business is a professional office and thus permitted as an accessory use pursuant to § 158.071(E). He met with mixed success.

After a public hearing, the Zoning Administrator denied the application because, in his view, the evidence demonstrated that Mr. Rosen “is operating a contracting business from the property, not a professional office[.]” Mr. Rosen appealed that decision to the Carroll County Board of Zoning Appeals (the “Board”). The Board granted the application. It found “that the applicant’s business was similar to a professional office and for the purpose of this case should be considered like a professional office.”

Sharon Underkoffler, together with several other of Mr. Rosen’s neighbors, filed an action in the Circuit Court for Carroll County for judicial review of the Board’s decision. The circuit court reversed the Board for two reasons. First, the court concluded that the evidence demonstrated that Mr. Rosen “operates an electrical contracting business” and not a “professional office,” as that term was used in the Zoning Ordinance. — Unreported Opinion — Second, the court concluded that accepting Mr. Rosen’s proposed definition of “professional office” would not be consistent with other provisions of the Ordinance.

Mr. Rosen has appealed the circuit court’s judgment and presents two issues, which we have re-worded slightly:

1. Did the circuit court apply the proper standard of review to the Board’s decision?

2. Was the circuit court correct when it concluded that the provisions of § 158.071(E)(11) precluded Mr. Rosen’s proposed use?

Read the opinion here: