Drumheller v. Shelburne Zoning Board of Adjustment

In Drumheller v. Shelburne Zoning Board of Adjustment, 155 Vt. 524, 586 A.2d 1150 (1990), the appellants sought to sell a parcel of their property that did not meet the minimum lot size requirements, creating two lots, one conforming, and the other nonconforming but permitted as an existing small lot under 4406(1). The appellants relied on the fact that at one point in the property's history, the small parcel had been separately owned. The appellants in Drumheller purchased the parcels from a unified owner, and after the adoption of minimum lot size regulations. 155 Vt. at 526, 586 A.2d at 1150-51. The Court held that because the small parcel was not held in individual and separated ownership when the minimum lot size restrictions were enacted, as required by 4406(1), the small lot could not be developed. Id. at 529, 586 A.2d at 1152. The Court stated that "lots that are smaller than the minimum lot size requirements are nonconforming uses, allowed only because the use preexists the applicable zoning requirement. A goal of zoning is to phase out such uses." Id. The Court prohibited the proposed use because permitting it "would allow the re-creation of such a use after it was extinguished." Id. at 529-30, 586 A.2d at 1152.