City of Grimes v. Polk County Bd. of Sup'rs, No. 91-1580

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtSCHULTZ
Citation495 N.W.2d 751
PartiesCITY OF GRIMES, Appellant, v. POLK COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS and Des Moines Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency, Appellees.
Docket NumberNo. 91-1580
Decision Date17 February 1993

Page 751

495 N.W.2d 751
CITY OF GRIMES, Appellant,
v.
POLK COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS and Des Moines Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency, Appellees.
No. 91-1580.
Supreme Court of Iowa.
Feb. 17, 1993.

Thomas Henderson of Whitfield & Eddy, Des Moines, for appellant.

Eliza Ovrom, Asst. County Atty., for appellee Polk County.

James E. Brick of Brick, Seckington, Bowers, Swartz & Gentry, P.C., Des Moines, for appellee Agency.

Considered by HARRIS, P.J., and SCHULTZ, CARTER, LAVORATO and SNELL, JJ.

SCHULTZ, Justice.

Acting pursuant to its zoning ordinances, the Polk County Board of Supervisors (Supervisors) approved the grant of a conditional use permit to the Des Moines Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency (Agency) for the operation of a county compost facility. In a certiorari action, the City of Grimes (City) challenged the legality of the Supervisors' action. Following trial, the

Page 752

district court dismissed the action. We reverse.

The Agency operates sanitary landfills serving all the communities of Polk County (County). Since 1972, the Agency has owned a 160-acre tract of land located approximately two miles southwest of the City. In 1972, the Agency obtained a conditional use permit from the Polk County Zoning Commission (Commission) permitting the use of the tract as a solid waste landfill. This action was challenged and affirmed by our court. Town of Grimes v. Board of Adjustment, Polk County, 243 N.W.2d 625 (Iowa 1976). However, the Agency did not construct a landfill on the tract.

In 1974, the City annexed the land around the Agency's site and the road leading to it. The City passed an ordinance placing a seven-ton weight restriction on trucks using the road. Garbage trucks used by the Agency to transport waste exceed this weight. The Agency is challenging the validity of that ordinance in a companion appeal decided this date. See Des Moines Metro. Area Solid Waste Agency v. City of Grimes, 495 N.W.2d 746 (Iowa 1993).

In 1990, the Agency applied to the Commission for a conditional use permit which would allow the Agency to use the tract in question as a yard waste compost facility. Following a hearing, the Commission granted the permit. The City appealed the decision to the Supervisors and a hearing was granted. The Supervisors affirmed the grant of the permit subject to a traffic study of the road leading to the tract, and on the condition that "the agency be required with the concurrence of the City ... to pay for upgrading of the roadway caused by the use brought about by this conditional use permit." This ruling is the subject of the certiorari action.

A writ of certiorari shall be granted where an inferior board exercising judicial functions is alleged to have acted illegally. Iowa R.Civ.P. 306. Certiorari is the appropriate means to review a board of supervisors' zoning decision. Montgomery v. Bremer County Bd. of Supervisors, 299 N.W.2d 687, 692 (Iowa 1980).

An illegality is established if a board has not acted in accordance with a statute; if its decision was not supported by substantial evidence; or if its actions were unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious. The plaintiff bears the burden to prove the illegality.

Norland v. Worth County Compensation Bd., 323 N.W.2d 251, 253 (Iowa 1982) (citations omitted). Our review of a district court certiorari ruling is for errors of law. Iowa R.App.P. 4.

The City urges that the Supervisors acted illegally by issuing the conditional use permit in violation of the County's zoning ordinances. The City claims the Supervisors approved a conditional use permit in an area planned for residential development. The City also urges that the Supervisors failed to require the Agency to provide information required by the zoning ordinances in its application for the permit.

I. Future residential use. The site of the proposed compost facility is zoned by the county as an agricultural district. The area surrounding and adjacent to the proposed site is within the City's limits and also is zoned for agricultural use. The City explains it has adopted a future-use plan that shows the surrounding and adjacent area to be zoned residential in the future and the use permit is incompatible with its future plans. The City maintains the Supervisors acted illegally in failing to follow ordinances which require consideration of proposed uses of adjoining property.

Under the County zoning ordinance, a disposal facility in an agricultural district is permitted upon approval of a conditional use permit. A conditional use permit is described under the zoning ordinance as:

Conditional uses are those uses which have some special impact or uniqueness such that their...

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7 practice notes
  • Perkins v. Bd. of Supervisors, No. 99-0583.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • November 15, 2001
    ...306). Our review of a district court certiorari ruling is at law. Iowa R.App. P. 4; see City of Grimes v. Polk County Bd. of Supervisors, 495 N.W.2d 751, 752 (Iowa 1993). "An illegality is established if the board has not acted in accordance with a statute; if its decision was not supported......
  • Des Moines Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency v. City of Grimes, No. 91-976
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • February 17, 1993
    ...and appealed to this court. On this date, we held the permit was improperly granted. City of Grimes v. Polk County Bd. of Supervisors, 495 N.W.2d 751 (Iowa The Agency filed a declaratory judgment action to challenge the constitutionality of the City's weight embargo ordinance. The district ......
  • City of Johnston v. Christenson, No. 04-0208.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • March 31, 2006
    ...of board of supervisors' zoning decision, it is not an exclusive remedy." Id. (citing City of Grimes v. Polk County Bd. of Supervisors, 495 N.W.2d 751, 752 (Iowa 3. We have explained: We have held that agency action may be adjudicatory if the agency determines an individual's rights, duties......
  • Little v. Winborn, No. 93-352
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • June 22, 1994
    ...Scope of Review. Our review of a district court certiorari ruling is for errors of law. City of Grimes v. Polk County Bd. of Supervisors, 495 N.W.2d 751, 752 (Iowa 1993). "In reviewing amendments to zoning ordinances, we presume they are valid and if their reasonableness is fairly debatable......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • Perkins v. Bd. of Supervisors, No. 99-0583.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • November 15, 2001
    ...306). Our review of a district court certiorari ruling is at law. Iowa R.App. P. 4; see City of Grimes v. Polk County Bd. of Supervisors, 495 N.W.2d 751, 752 (Iowa 1993). "An illegality is established if the board has not acted in accordance with a statute; if its decision was not supported......
  • Des Moines Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency v. City of Grimes, No. 91-976
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • February 17, 1993
    ...and appealed to this court. On this date, we held the permit was improperly granted. City of Grimes v. Polk County Bd. of Supervisors, 495 N.W.2d 751 (Iowa The Agency filed a declaratory judgment action to challenge the constitutionality of the City's weight embargo ordinance. The district ......
  • City of Johnston v. Christenson, No. 04-0208.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • March 31, 2006
    ...of board of supervisors' zoning decision, it is not an exclusive remedy." Id. (citing City of Grimes v. Polk County Bd. of Supervisors, 495 N.W.2d 751, 752 (Iowa 3. We have explained: We have held that agency action may be adjudicatory if the agency determines an individual's rights, duties......
  • Little v. Winborn, No. 93-352
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • June 22, 1994
    ...Scope of Review. Our review of a district court certiorari ruling is for errors of law. City of Grimes v. Polk County Bd. of Supervisors, 495 N.W.2d 751, 752 (Iowa 1993). "In reviewing amendments to zoning ordinances, we presume they are valid and if their reasonableness is fairly debatable......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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