The McDonald Family Lawsuit
The McDonald family had a farm for more than 100 years. On that farm, they had some pigs, cows, and goats. Over the years surrounding farms were sold and eventually, the area became a suburb of Austin, Texas. A zoning ordinance was passed that prohibited maintaining a barn or farmyard animals on the land. The McDonald’s family was told that the ordinance did not apply to them because theirs would be considered a nonconforming use.
A couple years after that, the members of the McDonald family lost interest in farming and sold off all their animals. Eight years later, one of the McDonalds decided to start raising a few pigs on the property. Angry neighbors complained that the McDonalds could not have pigs on their property. The McDonalds argued they could because the ordinance did not apply to them.
In a lawsuit, which side would win?