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Absence of a plan foils development proposal

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A plan commission did not overstep its authority when it turned down a proposal to build a 300-unit apartment complex, in part, because the developer did not submit a preliminary plan for the project.  

Brookview Properties LLC filed a development plan with the town of Plainfield for a multi-family housing complex in the 25-acre Hearthview parcel of the Metropolis Plan Unit Development.

After a public hearing, the commission denied Brookview’s petition.

A trial court entered a judgment in favor of the commission, but Brookview appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals claiming the plan commission exceeded its authority when it decided the apartment was inappropriate for the Metropolis PUD.

To support its argument, Brookview pointed out that only the Plainfield Town Council has the power to zone. The plan commission serves an advisory role and has no ability to create zoning districts or rezone land.

However, Brookview does not dispute the commission’s contention that approval of a preliminary plan is required to determine a use for the Hearthview parcel. Since no preliminary plan was approved, the parcel had not designated use.

The plans filed with the PUD do not meet the requirements for a preliminary plan and, a commissioner member noted, Brookview’s petition contained only a concept plan.

Although Brookview argued there is no significant difference between a concept plan and a preliminary plan, the Indiana Court of Appeals declined to ignore the distinction.

“Each of Brookview’s arguments on the issue of whether the Hearthview parcel is designated multifamily is based on the premise and contingent on a determination that a preliminary plan had been approved,” Judge Edward Najam wrote in Brookview Properties, LLC and First Merchants Bank of Central Indiana v. Plainfield Plan Commission, 32A04-1312-PL-606. “We hold that the evidence and reasonable inferences therefrom show that no preliminary plan was approved for the Hearthview parcel, and without a preliminary plan, there was no designated land use for that parcel.”
 

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  1. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  2. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  3. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  4. I totally agree with John Smith.

  5. An idea that would harm the public good which is protected by licensing. Might as well abolish doctor and health care professions licensing too. Ridiculous. Unrealistic. Would open the floodgates of mischief and abuse. Even veteranarians are licensed. How has deregulation served the public good in banking, for example? Enough ideology already!

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