Posted by: Patricia Salkin | July 14, 2008

Indiana Supreme Court Determines that Proposed Solid Waste Transfer Station Meets Definition of “Motor Truck Terminal”

The applicable zoning allowed for a “motor truck terminal” as of right, and the owner wished to build a “solid waste transfer station” and recycling facility on the land, where trucks would unload materials for temporary storage before being re-loaded onto larger trucks to be taken to incinerators, landfills or recycling facilities, the Indiana Supreme Court held that such use constitutes a “motor truck terminal” and that the owner need not apply for a special use permit as had been instructed by the Department of Metropolitan Development (DMD).   

 

The owner, 600 Land, had initially followed the instructions of the DMD and filed for the special use permit which was denied by the zoning board of appeals.  On appeal to the trial court, 600 Land argued that the zoning ordinance did not require it to apply for a special use permit because its proposed use qualified as a “motor truck terminal.”   Both the trial court and the appeals court ruled that a special use permit was required, but the Supreme Court reversed.  The appeals court did rule, however, that the zoning board’s denial of the special use permit should be reversed since its findings were unsupported by evidence.

 

In concluding that the proposed use qualified as a “motor truck terminal,” the Court looked at the definition of the use in the zoning ordinance which provides that it is: “[a] building or area in which truck, including tractor or trailer units are parked, stored, or serviced, including the transfer, loading or unloading of goods.  A terminal may include facilities for the temporary storage of loads prior to transport.” The DMD argued that “waste” does not constitute “goods.” The Court found that 600 Land easily met the definition in the first sentence since the trucks would be parked, stored and serviced at the facility.  The Court next turned to the question of whether waste constitutes “loads” and/or “goods.” The Court concluded that neither was actually required since the ordinance uses the word “including” preceding this, which, said the court, is meant to be  descriptive and not a requirement.  The Court did not find persuasive the argument that 600 Land’s use fit more squarely under the zoning ordinance’s definition of a “scrap metal, junk or salvage storage or operation…” which does require a special use permit.

 

600 Land, Inc. v. Metropolitan Board of Zoning Appeals of Marion County, 2008 WL 2580837 (Ind. 6/30/2008).

 

The opinion can be accessed at: http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/06300801fsj.pdf

 

The oral argument can be viewed at:

http://realvideo.ind.net:8080/ramgen/real/SupremeCourt/12202007_0945am.rm

 

 


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