ARLINGTON, Va.—Today, the Institute for Justice (IJ) sent a letter to town officials in Simpsonville, South Carolina, urging them to back off their illegal attempt to weaponize zoning laws and force a small business to stop renting U-Hauls on its property.
Rafael Chinchilla has owned and operated Tires 2 Go, a tire-selling business on Loma Street, for nearly a dozen years. At his business, Mr. Chinchilla sells tires and also rents U-Hauls. When he opened the business in 2011, both of these uses were perfectly legal under Simpsonville’s zoning laws. Then, in 2013, the city rezoned the property so that U-Haul rental would not be permitted. Almost a decade later, in August 2022, the city sent a letter ordering him to stop renting U-Hauls at the business or face ruinous fines and jail time.
“Mr. Chinchilla’s business is safe and legal, and he has harmlessly operated for years,” said IJ Attorney Seth Young. “The city cannot pull the rug out from under a hard-working small businessman without a legitimate health or safety reason for doing so.”
Since being told to stop renting U-Hauls, Mr. Chinchilla has been forced to lay off three of the five employees at his small, family business. He and his family have been hurt severely by the lost revenue.
“The city’s actions have crippled my business, hurt my family, and left customers without a place to go rent U-Hauls,” said Mr. Chinchilla. “All I want to do is continue running my business the way I have for more than a decade.”
IJ is the nation’s leading defender of property rights and economic liberty. Last year, IJ filed a lawsuit against nearby Mauldin, South Carolina, over a similar attempt to force a business to stop renting U-Hauls. That lawsuit led the city to reform its unconstitutional practices. IJ also defended a Dallas auto shop owner against an attempt to zone him out of business and a North Carolina couple against an attempt to prevent them from renting out their townhouse through zoning laws.