Zionsville wins in appeal of zoning dispute with airport authority

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.



Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  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