Seneca couple has a vested right, judge decides

In a case that sent Seneca officials back to the drawing board, a circuit judge ruled last week that two Northampton Road property owners had a vested right to rent their house on a short-term basis.  An order filed by 10th Circuit Judge Cordell Maddox grants a summary judgement to Leonard Chace, Julie Chace, and the Leonard and Julie Chace Family Trust, as the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the city of Seneca, City of Seneca Board of Zoning Appeals, and Edward Halbig.  The Chaces went to court to try to establish their right to rent their house short-term, in face of neighbors’ opposition, including that of the Normandy Shores Property Owners Association.  Two years ago, city of Seneca enacted a new short-term rental ordinance.  Maddox’s ruling, September 7, reads as follows: “According to the undisputed evidence of record, Plaintiffs purchased the property at issue in this case (located at 602 Northampton Road, Seneca, SC  29672 (“Property”) when an earlier iteration of the City of Seneca’s (“City”) Zoning Code—as related to the short-term rental issue before the court—remained in effect (“Prior Ordinance”) Based upon the unique facts presented by Plaintiff’s Motion, the case’s atypical procedural history, and, as a result, limited to the unusual facts applicable to Plaintiffs, the Court concludes the record evidence supports a legal finding that Plaintiffs obtained a vested right to lease their property on a short-term rental basis under the Prior Ordinance, and thus, derivatively under the New Ordinance now in effect.”