The petitioner, a limestone quarry operator that has boarders within a half mile of the City’s corporate limits, filed a motion for a preliminary injunction following the passage of an ordinance restricting the blasting times, hours of operation, and use of City roads with the purpose of mitigating nuisances as it pertains to their quarry. The federal district court granted the preliminary injunction, and the City appealed, claiming that the petitioner is not likely to succeed since the quarry is within a mile of the City’s corporate limits, giving the City jurisdiction, and also because the petitioner did not show irreparable harm
In addressing the City’s likelihood of success claim, the Circuit Court noted that the law affords municipal jurisdiction over land within a mile of its corporate limits if the ordinance addresses a use which constitutes a nuisance. However, rock quarries are not a nuisance per se, thus it can only be labeled a nuisance upon a judicial determination. Since, in this case, the determination that rock quarries are a nuisance was made legislatively and not judicially, the determination does not confer jurisdiction. Thus the court found that the City’s claim of jurisdiction over the quarry, rebutting the petitioner’s likelihood of success, failed.
The court then addressed the second claim, that the petitioner did not make an adequate showing of irreparable harm, as the proffered harm was speculative. Additionally, the City claimed the only real harm inflicted by the ordinance concerned the petitioner’s use of dump trucks on the City roads, thus this provision should be severed from the entire ordinance and only this aspect should be preliminarily enjoined. This court stated this determination made by the district court is discretionary and the requirement can be satisfied by as little as a showing of ‘loss of good will’ experienced by the property owner. The district court found that the petitioner’s loss of good will with their customers, lack of ability to expand operations in the future, and prospective loss of business were sufficient reasons to satisfy the requirement. Thus, the Court of Appeals found the City’s second claim failed, as the district court did not abuse their discretion and there was a sufficient showing of harm to make a determination in favor of the petitioner.
Rogers Group, Inc. v. City of Fayetteville, 2010 WL 5258482 (Ct. App., 8th Cir. 12/27/2010)
The opinion can be accessed at: http://www.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/10/12/093915P.pdf.