Posted by: Patricia Salkin | July 27, 2017

IN Appeals Court Holds City Council’s Denial of Request to Rezone Property From Residential to General Business was Not Arbitrary or Capricious

The Demarees, owners of residential property, filed an application with the City of Madison Planning Commission seeking to rezone the property from residential to general business. The application was heard by five of the nine members of the Planning Commission, who voted to give the application an unfavorable recommendation. As a result, the Council voted against the Demarees’ request. Demarees filed a complaint in the trial court requesting a reversal of the City Council’s decision. The trial court issued reversed the City Council’s decision and granted the Demarees’ application to rezone their property. The court issued a nunc pro tunc order, and the City of Madison appealed.
On appeal, the court found that in reversing the City Council’s decision, the trial court relied on statutes that were inapplicable to this case: Indiana Code section 34-13-6-4(a), (b), and (f) (1998) and Indiana Code section 34-13-6-5(a) and (b) (1998). The court found that Indiana Code chapter 34-13-6 was inapplicable to this case because it concerned appeals from actions of municipalities where an appeal was allowed by statute. Here, there was no provision in the state statutes for an appeal of a legislative body’s denial of a rezoning request. As such, the standard to be applied to the review of a rezoning determination was whether the decision is arbitrary or capricious.
The record indicated that the Planning Commission and the City Council weighed and discussed all of the factors required to be considered by Indiana Code section 36-7-4-603. Here, the balancing of these factors led the City Council to find this rezoning was not appropriate. As such, the court found there was a rational basis for the City of Madison’s decision to deny the Demarees’ rezoning application, and held that it was not arbitrary and capricious.
 City of Madison v DeMaree, 77 NE 3d 1219 (IN App. 5/23/2017)

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