Town of Brighton v. Griffin

In Town of Brighton v. Griffin, 148 Vt. 264, 532 A.2d 1292 (1987), the town passed an ordinance which prohibited gas stations unless they obtained conditional use permits. Defendants argued that the gas station at issue - which was in use when the zoning ordinance passed, and was then discontinued for a period of two years - was a permitted, not a nonconforming, use within the town's commercial district, and was therefore not subject to the zoning ordinance's six-month discontinuance provision which applied to nonconforming uses. While not explicitly raising the issue of whether conditional uses are a form of permitted uses or nonconforming uses, we proceeded on the premise that, after the town passed an ordinance allowing for gas stations only if they obtained conditional use permits, the gas station in question was operating as a nonconforming use prior to its discontinuance. Id. at 266, 532 A.2d at 1293. The Court found that because the gas station at issue "neither had a conditional use permit nor complied in all respects with the zoning ordinance, defendants' auto service station was a nonconforming use within the meaning of the ordinance." Id. at 269, 532 A.2d at 1294.