Posted by: Patricia Salkin | December 28, 2018

IN Appeals Court Holds Homeowner was Not an “Aggrieved” Party for Standing Purposes Simply Because He Lived Next to the Subject Property

This post was authored by Matthew Loeser, Esq.
Paul Vezolles was a member of 855 North East Street, LLC (“Vezolles”), which owned property in Indianapolis. Prior to the Indianapolis Historical Preservation Commission (“IHPC”) proceedings at issue, the subject property was zoned SU-7, which only allowed charitable, philanthropic, and not-for-profit use. David Pflugh resided at 847 North Park Avenue, which was located directly across from the northeast corner of the subject property. Vezolles petitioned the IHPC to rezone the Site from SU-7, to what was ultimately changed to D-8, to allow for a new development called Chatham Park to replace the vacant nursery school building. Vezolles proposed building seven single-family homes and two duplexes on the east side of the Site and two condominium buildings with a total of fifty-five units on the west side. David Pflugh petitioned for judicial review of the granting of variances and issuance of certificate of appropriateness (“COA”) after historic preservation commission approved a plan to rezone an area for development. The Superior Court, Marion County, held that the homeowner lacked standing to seek judicial review.

On appeal, Pflugh contended that his status as an adjoining property owner automatically rendered him “aggrieved.” The court found Pflugh was not “aggrieved” simply because he lived next to the subject property. Instead, Pflugh was required show pecuniary or special injury. Here, the court found Pflugh’s complaints that there would be additional noise and traffic near his home were insufficient to confer standing as a matter of law. Additionally, none of Pflugh’s specific complaints alleged any fiduciary harm or a harm that would not be common to the community as a whole. Accordingly, as Pflugh failed to show the variances cause a special injury to him, the court held the Pflugh failed to meet his burden of showing he has been aggrieved.

Pflugh v Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission, 108 N.E. 3d 904 (IN App. 8/1/2018)

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