COA reverses trial court on Kroger building proposal

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that the Town of Plainfield Plan Commission must provide The Kroger Co. with specific reasons its building plan was denied or allow Kroger to build a gas station as planned.

In The Kroger Co, et al. v. Plan Commission of the Town of Plainfield, Indiana, No. 32A04-1012-MI-751, Kroger appealed the trial court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of the plan commission, alleging the plan commission’s zoning ordinance does not satisfy the specificity requirement of the Zoning Enabling Act.  

Kroger owns and operates a retail store located at the intersection of State Road 267 and U.S. 40. On October 29, 2009, Kroger submitted a petition seeking approval of its plan to construct a fuel center on the western edge of its property. The plan commission denied that petition, stating the development was not appropriate to its surroundings, was not consistent with the intent and purpose of the Plainfield Zoning Ordinance, and would create a public safety hazard.

In support of its argument, Kroger cited Hendricks Cnty. Board of Comm'rs v. Rieth-Riley Construction Co., 868 N.E.2d at 852 (Ind. Ct. App. 2007),(citing T.W. Thom Const., Inc. v. City of Jeffersonville, 721 N.E.2d 319, 327 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999)), in which the Court of Appeals concluded that an ordinance lacked the necessary specificity and allowed the plan commission “unfettered power to deny development plans if it decides, by whim or otherwise, that the plan contravenes one of the factors listed in the Ordinance.”

But in Kroger, unlike in Rieth-Riley, the Plainfield Zoning Ordinance did provide Kroger with detailed information regarding what development requirements and factors the plan commission would consider when formulating its decision about whether to allow the proposed development, the court held. However, the appeals court held that in denying Kroger’s petition, the plan commission more or less replicated what was already established in the Plainfield Zoning Ordinance.

The appeals court stated that the commission’s findings do not provide sufficient details about why Kroger’s proposed development of a gas station was not appropriate to the site and its surroundings or consistent with the intent and purposes of the Plainfield Zoning Ordinance. Likewise, the findings do not inform Kroger how its proposed development would create a public safety hazard.

The COA remanded the matter to the trial court for further proceedings, holding that if the plan commission cannot provide specific reasons why Kroger’s development plan was denied, then it should grant Kroger’s request to build a fuel center.


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  1. Freedom From Religion Foundation: If you really want to be free from religion, don't go to the Christmas Play or the Christmas Pageant or the Christmas Parade. Anything with "Christ" or Saint...fill in the blank...would be off limits to you. Then leave the rest of us ALONE!

  2. So the prosecutor made an error and the defendants get a full remedy. Just one short paragraph to undo the harm of the erroneous prosecution. Wow. Just wow.

  3. Wake up!!!! Lawyers are useless!! it makes no difference in any way to speak about what is important!! Just dont tell your plans to the "SELFRIGHTEOUS ARROGANT JERKS!! WHO THINK THEY ARE BETTER THAN ANOTHER MAN/WOMAN!!!!!!

  4. Looks like you dont understand Democracy, Civilized Society does not cut a thiefs hands off, becouse now he cant steal or write or feed himself or learn !!! You deserve to be over punished, Many men are mistreated hurt in many ways before a breaking point happens! grow up !!!

  5. It was all that kept us from tyranny. So sad that so few among the elite cared enough to guard the sacred trust. Nobody has a more sacred obligation to obey the law than those who make the law. Sophocles No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor. Theodore Roosevelt That was the ideal ... here is the Hoosier reality: The King can do no wrong. Legal maxim From the Latin 'Rex non potest peccare'. When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal. Richard Nixon