Zoning: Related Cases

Case namesort ascending Citation Summary
Thompson v. Hancock County 539 N.W.2d 181 (Iowa 1995)

In this case, the Supreme court of Iowa held that hog confinement buildings were agricultural buildings and thus exempt from county zoning ordinances.

Siegert v. Crook County 266 P.3d 170 (Or.App., 2011)

An individual appealed County Court’s decision to approve the location of a dog breeding kennel in a zone where such kennels were not permitted. The county interpreted the code that was in effect at the time the kennel began operating to allow dog breeding as animal husbandry, and thus permissible farm use. The Court of Appeals found the county's interpretation to be plausible.

Save the Pine Bush, Inc. v. Common Council of City of Albany 56 A.D.3d 32, 865 N.Y.S.2d 365 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept.,2008)

An Organization dedicated to the protection of the Karner Blue Butterfly and other species that live in an area of land used as a nature preserve brought challenge against the City Common Council’s; (“Council”) approval of a Developer’s rezoning application for the land.   The Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department, New York, held that the Organization had standing to bring suit, because the Organization showed the existence of an actual injury different from that of the general public, due to the Organization’s regular use of the preserve, at least one member’s nearby residency to the preserve, and the Organization’s historic involvement in the protection and preservation of the preserve. (2010 - Order Reversed by Save the Pine Bush, Inc. v. Common Council of City of Albany, 13 N.Y.3d 297, 918 N.E.2d 917, 890 N.Y.S.2d 405, 2009 N.Y. Slip Op. 07667 (N.Y. Oct 27, 2009) (NO. 134)).  

Rosenfeld v. Zoning Bd. of Appeals of Mendon 940 N.E.2d 891 (Ma. App., 2011)

A zoning board granted landowner’s application for a special permit, and neighbor property owners appealed. The Appeals Court of Massachusetts held that defendant’s proposed use of land for horse stables fit within the agricultural use exception of the zoning ordinance and by-laws, and that plaintiffs had standing to enforce a deed restriction on defendant’s property.

People v. Strobridge 339 N.W.2d 531 (Mich.App.,1983)

In this Michigan case, the defendant appealed his conviction of keeping more than three dogs on his premises without a kennel license in violation of Grandville ordinances, § 21, No. 159-A.  On appeal, defendant asserted that the trial court improperly denied his “nonconforming use” defense; that is, he claimed the ordinance at issue was a zoning ordinance rather than a regulatory ordinance.   Relying on a case that held that prior nonconforming use (where a person has been using property in a nonconforming way prior to the adoption of the zoning ordinance), the court found that indeed defendant was entitled to present such a defense, as he owned the dogs on the property prior to adoption of the ordinance.  Defendant next argued that the trial court erred in ruling that the ordinance was a constitutional exercise of the city's police power.  While the court observed that criminal ordinances are to be more strictly construed than ordinances involving a civil penalty, it still found that the ordinance at issue was a valid exercise of police power, especially considering that a previous case had upheld a similar ordinance that limited ownership to only two dogs.

Mississippi Bluff Motel Inc. v. Rock Island County 420 N.E.2d 748 (1981)

The State of Illinois seeks to intervene as a protector of wildlife in a zoning action where the property at issue was adjacent to a bald eagle refuge.  The court denied the state's request, finding that it did not have a stake in the litigation as it held no property interest nor was it representing a special class of people.  Instead, the court found the state's interest speculative and the immediacy of harm was nonexistent, as it would create "bad law" to allow the State to intervene whenever there was a potential ecological or environmental consequence in a civil lawsuit.  For further discussion on the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, see Detailed Discussion of Eagle Act .

Kuehl v. Cass County 555 N.W.2d 686 (Iowa 1996) The issue before the Iowa Supreme Court was whether hog confinement buildings could be considered “agricultural” so as to fall within the state's agricultural zoning exemption. The court held that h og confinement buildings were within the agricultural building exemption and thus exempt from county zoning regulations.
Kohl v. New Sewickley Tp. Zoning Hearing Bd. 108 A.3d 961 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2015) Applicants sought a zoning variance to operate a nonprofit dog-rescue shelter. The zoning board denied the application, concluding that the dog-rescue operation run by applicants was a non-permissible “kennel” under the township's zoning ordinance. Applicants appealed to a trial court. The trial court determined that because applicants did not receive “economic gain” or a profit for their efforts, their dog-rescue operation was not a “kennel” and, therefore, was not a prohibited land use under the zoning ordinance. The trial court therefore reversed the zoning board's order. Intervenors, the applicants’ neighbors, appealed from the trial court's decision. Upon review, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania concluded that the term “kennel,” as used in the zoning ordinance, was ambiguous, and had to be construed in favor of applicants to find that applicants' operation of a large dog rescue facility on their property did not constitute the operation of a kennel. The appeals court therefore affirmed the trial court's decision.
Hendricks v. Barlow 656 N.E.2d 481 (Ind. 1995)

Landowners were held in violation of a zoning regulation, established under a Hendricks County ordinance, which forbade having wild animals residing on residential property.   The trial court held that the county could not pass such a law, since it would be preempted by state and federal law.   However, on appeal, this Court found that federal  (the AWA) and state law did not preempt the County from passing such ordinances.   The trial court erroneously attempted to interpret the law when it was not ambiguous, and, thus, preemption   by state and federal law should not have been found.   Thus, the zoning regulation was permitted.

Farmegg Products, Inc. v. Humboldt County 190 N.W.2d 454 (Iowa 1971)

Court held that intensive egg-laying facilities did not constitute buildings used for 'agricultural purposes' and were not exempt from county zoning ordinances.

Bloomfield Estates Improvement Ass'n, Inc. v. City of Birmingham 737 N.W.2d 670 (2007)

In this Michigan case, a property association brought an action against the city of Birmingham to enforce a deed restriction. The association alleged that the city's plan to build a dog park violated the residential use restriction in the deed. The Circuit Court of Oakland County granted the city's motion for summary disposition; the Court of Appeals reversed. The Supreme Court held that the city's use of the lot as a “dog park" (a fenced area where dogs could roam unleashed with their owners) did indeed violate the deed restriction limiting use of land to “strictly residential purposes only.” Further, despite the association's failure to contest the previous use of the land as a vacant park, the association could contest the dog park violation because the former use was deemed a "less serious" violation.