Justia Zoning, Planning & Land Use Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in South Dakota Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approving the application of Crowned Ridge Wind, LLC for a permit to construct a wind energy farm in northeast South Dakota, holding that the PUC acted within its discretion in this case.After a contested hearing, the PUC issued a written decision approving the permit. Two individuals who lived in rural areas near the project and had intervened to oppose Crowned Ridge's application sought review. The circuit court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) neither of the Intervenors' evidentiary claims were sustainable; and (2) even if the Intervenors' claims were preserved for appeal, the PUC acted within its discretion when it denied the Intervenors' challenges to certain testimony. View "Christenson v. Crowned Ridge Wind, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the circuit court granting summary judgment dismissing claims brought by Luke McAllister, McAllister TD, LLC (MTD), and B-Y Internet, LLC (B-Y) (collectively, McAllisters) against Yankton County, holding that the circuit court erred in part.Yankton County brought an action seeking an injunction against the McAllisters to cease a business that the County alleged was operating in violation of a zoning ordinance. The McAllisters asserted counterclaims for barratry and abuse of process, filed a third-party complaint asserting an abuse of process claim against Yankton County entities, and added a claim against the County's attorney and zoning administrator. The circuit court dismissed all of the McAllisters' claims. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the circuit court erred in granting summary judgment for Yankton County as to barratry counterclaims filed by Luke and MTD. View "Yankton County v. McAllister" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court dismissing Petitioner's petition for a writ of certiorari challenging the Lake County Board's decision to grant a variance to Hodne Homes, LLC to build a facility to store and display boats, holding that the circuit court erred.In Dunham I, the Supreme Court reversed the circuit court's denial of Petitioner's challenge to the variance. On remand, the circuit court addressed a newly-raised issue about Petitioner's standing and then dismissed the petition because of a lack of standing. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Petitioner was an "aggrieved" party with standing to challenge the variance under S.D. Codified Laws 11-2. View "Dunham v. Lake County Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court upheld the action of the Deuel County Board of Adjustment (Board) unanimously approving the application filed by Crowned Ridge Wind II, LLC for a special exception permit (SEP) to construct and operate a wind energy system (WES) in Deuel County, holding that there was no error.In 2004, the Deuel County Board of County Commissioners adopted the Deuel County Zoning Ordinance, which created the Board and authorized it to decide requests for "special exceptions" from zoning standards. In 2018, Crowned Ridge sought an SEP from the Board for the construction and operation of a WES with up to sixty-eight wind turbines to be build on property zoned for agricultural use. The Board granted the SEP, and the circuit court upheld the decision. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the ordinance complied with the statuary requirements of S.D. Codified Laws 11-2-17.3, and therefore, the Board acted within its jurisdiction by considering crowned Ridge's application for an SEP; (2) the Board acted within the requirements of the ordinance and S.D. Codified Laws chapter 11-2; and (3) as to Appellants, landowners in Deuel County, the Board did not illegally grant an easement over Appellants' property, nor did the ordinance violate due process. View "Ehlebracht v. Deuel County Planning Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court affirming the decision of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approving the application filed by Crowned Ridge Wind II, LLC for a permit to construct a large-scale wind energy farm in northeast South Dakota, holding that there was no error.Several individual intervened in this case and objected to Crowned Ridge's application. After an evidentiary hearing, the PUC voted unanimously to approve Crowned Ridge's permit. The circuit court affirmed the issuance of the permit. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the intervenors failed to raise any meritorious issues upon which the PUC's final decision and order may be reversed or modified. View "Ehlebracht v. Crowned Ridge Wind II, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court affirming the decision of the Spink County Board of Adjustment (Board) to deny the application filed by Arrow Farms RE, LLC for a conditional use permit (CUP) for a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO), holding that there was no error.Preston Miles, who owned the land where Arrow Farms planned to build the CAFO, petitioned for a writ of certiorari, arguing that the Board's decision was arbitrary and that several Board members were biased or held an unreasonable risk of bias. The circuit court affirmed the denial of the CUP, determining that none of the Board members had a disqualifying interest. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Miles was not entitled to relief on his allegations. View "Miles v. Spink County Board of Adjustment" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the circuit court concluding that Sierra Club lacked standing to challenge the Clay County Board of Adjustment's decision affirming the issuance of a permit for the operation of a concentrated animal feeding operation in Clay County, holding that the circuit court erred in holding that Sierra Club lacked representational standing.In concluding that Sierra Club lacked standing under S.D. Codified Laws 11-2 to bring this lawsuit in its own right, the circuit court concluded that Sierra Club was not a person aggrieved and lacked representational standing because participation in the suit by its individual members was required. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) the circuit circuit properly determined that Sierra Club lacked standing to bring suit in its own right under section 11-2-61; and (2) the circuit court erred in concluding that Sierra Club lacked representational standing. View "Sierra Club v. Clay County Board Of Adjustment" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the circuit court reversing the decision of the Deuel County Board of Adjustment granting special exception permits (SEP) to Deuel Harvest Wind Energy, LLC and Deuel Harvest Wind Energy South, LLC (Deuel Harvest) to develop two wind energy systems in the County, holding that the circuit court erred by invalidating the votes of two Board members.Following a public hearing, the Board unanimously approved the SEPs. Appellees, several residents of Deuel County and neighboring counties, petitioned for a writ of certiorari, asserting that several Board members had interests or biases disqualifying them from considering the permits. The circuit court invalidated the votes of two Board members due to disqualifying interests and overturned the Board's approval of the SEPs. The Supreme Court reversed in part and reinstated the Board's unanimous vote in approving the SEPs, holding that the circuit court erred in disqualifying the two members from voting on the SEPs. View "Holborn v. Deuel County Board of Adjustment" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's judgment declining to declare that the City of Rapid City unlawfully bargained away its police power when it entered into a settlement agreement with Epic Outdoor Advertising under which the City agreed to amend certain sign ordinances and grant Epic two sign permits, holding that the circuit court did not err.Lamar Advertising brought this appeal. By notice of review, Epic asserted that the circuit court erred in denying its request that the court declare invalid a similar settlement agreement executed between Lamar and the City. The Supreme Court affirmed in all respects, holding (1) because the City did not contract away its police powers by agreeing to amend the sign code, and because Lamar did not establish that the City acted unreasonably or arbitrarily when it amended the sign code, the circuit court did not err in denying Lamar's motion for summary judgment requesting a declaration that the settlement agreement and the ordinance agreements were invalid; (2) challenges to the granting of permits, such as those brought by Lamar, must be pursued through the administrative process; and (3) the circuit court did not err in failing to find the settlement agreement previously entered into between Lamar and the City invalid. View "Lamar Advertising Of South Dakota, LLC v. City of Rapid City" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the circuit court denying Karen Dunham's petition for writ of certiorari challenging the decision of the Lake County Board of Adjustment (Board) approving Hodne Homes, LLC's requests for a variance and conditional use permit (CUP), holding that the Board exceeded its authority in granting the variance but did not exceed its legal authority when it approved the CUP.Hodne Homes purchased a Lake County lot to build a facility to store and display boats. Hodne Homes sought the variance and CUP because the proposed facility exceeded the size and setback restrictions for the lot under the Lake County Zoning Ordinance. Dunham, an adjoining landowner, objected, but the Board granted both requests. The court of appeals denied Dunham's petition for writ of certiorari challenging the Board's decision. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding (1) the Board exceeded its legal authority under the ordinance when it approved the variance; and (2) the Board did not exceed its authority under the ordinance when it approved the CUP, the Board's decision did not violate Dunham's due process rights, and the Board committed no procedural errors in its approval of the CUP. View "Dunham v. Lake County Commission" on Justia Law