Standards of Review in Appellate Courts (continued – Section F)

F. STANDARD OF REVIEW IN ADMINISTRATIVE APPEALS

1. Rulings of administrative board acting in quasi-judicial capacity reviewable by certiorari and will be upheld if supported by competent substantial evidence. Schreiber Exp., Inc. v. Yarborough, 257 So.2d 245 (Fla. 1971); De Groot v. Sheffield, 95 So.2d 912 (Fla. 1957).

2. Exercise of local government zoning power (legislative in nature) subject to “highly deferential standard of judicial review” — or the “fairly debatable” standard of review. Courts must uphold if zoning decision could be justified as being “fairly debatable.” Board of County Com ‘rs of Brevard County v. Snyder, 627 So.2d 469 (Fla. 1993); Florida Water Services Corp. v. Robinson, 856 So.2d 1035 (Fla. 5th DCA 2003).

See also Nance v. Town of Indialantic, 419 So.2d 1041 (Fla. 1982) (“Fairly debatable” test of reviewing zoning decision distinguished from the “unique hardship” burden of proof for variances. Proper standard of review in a zoning variance case is whether the lower tribunal had before it competent substantial evidence to support its finding.)

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