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Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
Judicial Department
2004-UP-055 - Spartanburg County v. Lancaster
Spartanburg County v. Samuel T.D. Lancaster

In The Court of Appeals

The Spartanburg County Building Codes Board of Appeals,        Respondent,


Samuel T. D. Lancaster,        Appellant.

Appeal From Spartanburg County
Donald W. Beatty, Circuit Court Judge

Unpublished Opinion No. 2004-UP-055
Submitted January 12, 2004 – Filed January 28, 2004


Samuel T.D. Lancaster, of Spartanburg, for Appellant.

William McBee Smith, of Spartanburg, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Samuel Lancaster appeals from the circuit court’s dismissal of his appeal from the Spartanburg County Building Codes Board of Appeals (the Board).  We affirm.


In June 2001, Spartanburg County (the County) informed Lancaster that the storage of inoperable vehicles and appliances on his property was in violation of a County ordinance.  To that end, the County served Lancaster with a “Notice of Violation and Order,” which ordered Lancaster to comply with the ordinance.  In response, Lancaster filed a request for a variance with the Board.  The Board subsequently denied Lancaster’s request for a variance.   

Lancaster appealed the Board’s ruling to the circuit court.  The circuit court judge dismissed Lancaster’s appeal, finding (1) Lancaster’s allegations of collusion and equal protection violations were not preserved for review and (2) there was substantial evidence to support the Board’s conclusions.  The final order also instructed Lancaster to comply with the Board’s final decision within thirty days, and authorized County law enforcement officers to enter Lancaster’s property to determine compliance with the order.  Lancaster appeals.


Lancaster argues the circuit court erred in upholding the Board’s decision.  We do not agree.

Initially, we note the circuit court was correct in finding Lancaster’s collusion and equal protection arguments were procedurally barred.  As Lancaster had not raised these arguments to the Board, he was prohibited from subsequently presenting these issues to the circuit court.  See, e.g.Brown v. South Carolina Dep’t of Health & Envtl. Control, 348 S.C. 507, 519, 560 S.E.2d 410, 417 (2002) (finding issues not raised to and ruled on by an administrative agency are not preserved for judicial consideration) (citations omitted).

Therefore, the sole issue before this court is whether the circuit court erred in dismissing Lancaster’s appeal and upholding the Board’s decision.  As Lancaster failed to appear for the Board’s hearing on this matter, the hearing was held in his absence.  The inspector who issued the Notice of Violation for Lancaster’s property testified that Lancaster’s storage of eight inoperable motor vehicles, appliances, shelving, and pipe on his property violated the Property Maintenance Code.  The inspector also stated “the property is obviously in violation of the Code,” and added that a neighbor had lodged an informal complaint about Lancaster’s property approximately four months earlier.  The Board then viewed the inspector’s videotape of the debris on Lancaster’s property.  After agreeing with the inspector that Lancaster’s property was in clear violation of the Code, the Board unanimously voted to deny Lancaster’s motion for a variance. 

We find the circuit court was correct in affirming the Board.  There was more than enough evidence presented at the Board hearing to support the Board’s decision to deny the variance and hold Lancaster in violation of the Code.  Further, other than presenting a brief to the Board, Lancaster did not present any other evidence to support his motion for a variance.  As the arguments in Lancaster’s brief cannot be considered as evidence and Lancaster did not appear at the hearing, Lancaster effectively did not present any evidence to the Board. 

Similar to our review of zoning appeals, we employ an abuse of discretion standard of review in the instant case.  See Peterson Outdoor Adver. v. City of Myrtle Beach, 327 S.C. 230, 235, 489 S.E.2d 630, 633 (1997) (“[T]he decision of the zoning board will not be upheld where it is based on errors of law, . . .  or where there is no legal evidence to support it, or where the board acts arbitrarily or unreasonably, . . . or where, in general, the board has abused its discretion.”) (citation omitted).  As such, we find (1) there is substantial evidence to support the circuit court’s order dismissing Lancaster’s appeal and (2) the Board neither acted arbitrarily nor abused its discretion in denying Lancaster’s motion for a variance.  Accordingly, the circuit court did not err in dismissing Lancaster’s appeal from the Board’s ruling.


Based upon the foregoing, the circuit court’s order dismissing Lancaster’s appeal is