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Zionsville wins in appeal of zoning dispute with airport authority

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The portion of Indiana Code that gives an airport authority the power to “fix and determine exclusively the uses” to which airport land may be put does not give the Hamilton County Airport Authority complete zoning jurisdiction over an airport it owns in Boone County, the Indiana Court of Appeals concluded.

The Hamilton County Airport Authority and the town of Zionsville are involved in litigation over whether the airport authority is subject to any Boone County zoning. The airport authority owns and operates the Indianapolis Executive Airport in neighboring Boone County. In 2004, the predecessor to the airport authority executed covenants to govern land use at the airport. The Boone County Commissioners and the county area plan commission allowed the airport authority’s predecessor to execute these covenants in exchange for creating airport districts as a category of use under the county zoning ordinance and designating the airport site for this purpose. The town of Zionsville reorganized with Eagle and Union townships into a single governmental entity known as the town of Zionsville.

In 2010, Zionsville’s planning director told the airport authority it needed approval prior to obtaining construction permits. The airport authority filed a complaint for declaratory judgment, in which the trial court ruled the airport authority had exclusive jurisdiction over land use, zoning and drainage; the Boone County and Zionsville ordinances are invalid as applied to the airport; and the covenants are invalid.

On appeal, Zionsville cited Indiana Code Chapter 36 in support of its argument that it has general zoning authority. The airport authority cited Indiana Code 8-22-3-11, which dictates airport authority powers, and specifically subsection 16, to support its argument it has separate statutory authority to exercise zoning jurisdiction.

The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court, citing City of Crown Point v. Lake County, 510 N.E.2d 684 (Ind. 1987).

“The Indiana Supreme Court has held that a general unit of government maintains zoning authority within its boundaries, even as to other general governments. It has also made clear that this authority cannot be employed for abusive or unreasonable interference,” wrote Senior Judge Randall T. Shepard in Town of Zionsville, Indiana and Zionsville Plan Commission v. Hamilton County Airport Authority, 49A05-1107-PL-374.  

The judges did not address the airport authority’s arguments that the covenants are no longer valid because that issue has not been briefed.

 

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

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