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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. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  2. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  3. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  4. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  5. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

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