Following approval by the board of zoning appeals of a special exception to allow for a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) which would house 2,000 cows on 27 acres, Thomas, who owned property located one-third of a mile from the site appealed to the circuit court. The circuit court dismissed the matter finding that Thomas had failed to show that she was an aggrieved party for purposes of standing based on evidence at the hearing relating to the impact of the CAFO operation on the value of Thomas’s property. The appeals court reversed and remanded, finding that the trial court heard evidence outside of the pleadings and had treated the motion to dismiss as a motion for summary judgment.
In what is primarily a procedural decision, as opposed to a substantive zoning issue, the Indiana Supreme Court reversed, basically approving of the procedure followed by the trial court in holding an evidentiary hearing and deciding whether Thomas had standing based on the conflicting evidence presented.
Thomas v. Blackford County Area Board of Zoning Appeals, 2009, 2009 WL 1674830 (Ind. 6/16/2009)
The opinion can be accessed at: http://www.state.in.us/judiciary/opinions/pdf/06160901trb.pdf
Read a summary on the Indiana Appellate Law Blog here