Martin Marietta Materials v. Dallas County, No. 02-1855.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtLAVORATO, Chief Justice.
Citation675 N.W.2d 544
PartiesMARTIN MARIETTA MATERIALS, INC., Stanley Pearson and Marjorie Pearson, Appellants, v. DALLAS COUNTY, Iowa and Board of Adjustment of Dallas County, Iowa, Appellees, and Knapp-Pulver, L.C., and W & G McKinney Farms, L.P., Intervenors-Appellees.
Decision Date25 February 2004
Docket NumberNo. 02-1855.

675 N.W.2d 544

MARTIN MARIETTA MATERIALS, INC., Stanley Pearson and Marjorie Pearson, Appellants,
v.
DALLAS COUNTY, Iowa and Board of Adjustment of Dallas County, Iowa, Appellees, and
Knapp-Pulver, L.C., and W & G McKinney Farms, L.P., Intervenors-Appellees

No. 02-1855.

Supreme Court of Iowa.

February 25, 2004.


675 N.W.2d 546
Bernard L. Spaeth, Jr. and Theodore C. Simms, II of Whitfield & Eddy, P.L.C., Des Moines, for appellants

James E. Brick and James E. Nervig of Gentry, Bowers, Swartz, Stoltze, Schuling, Levis, P.C., Des Moines, for appellees.

Gary M. Myers and Heather L. Palmer of Davis, Brown, Koehn, Shors & Roberts, P.C., Des Moines, for intervenor-appellee Knapp-Pulver, L.C.

James V. McKinney of McKinney Law Offices, P.C., Waukee, for intervenor-appellee W & G McKinney Farms, L.P.

LAVORATO, Chief Justice.

In this certiorari proceeding, the plaintiffs appeal a district court ruling affirming a board of adjustment decision denying their application for a conditional use permit. The permit would have allowed the operation of a sand and gravel excavation business in Dallas County, Iowa. Because we conclude the district court abused its discretion in refusing to allow discovery depositions and in excluding testimony from two witnesses, we reverse and remand.

I. Background Facts.

On March 16, 2001, Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. and Stanley and Marjorie

675 N.W.2d 547
Pearson filed an application for a conditional use permit with Dallas County. Martin Marietta had negotiated an option to purchase from the Pearsons the property described in the application. Martin Marietta sought permission to build and operate a sand and gravel business on the property, which was zoned A 2 (agricultural/conservation/floodplain district)

The Dallas County ordinance allows mining of sand and gravel on property zoned A-2 upon issuance of a conditional use permit. Dallas County, Iowa, Ordinances §§ 45.10(1), 45.09(3)(B)(c) (2001). Before the Board of Adjustment may grant such a permit, it must find all of the following:

(a) Surrounding Area. The value and qualities of the area (or neighborhood) surrounding the conditional use are not substantially injured, and the establishment of a conditional use will not impede the normal and orderly development and improvement of surrounding property for uses predominant in the area.
(b) Infrastructure. That adequate utilities, access roads, drainage, and other necessary facilities have been or are being provided.
(c) Intent of Ordinance. That the conditional use is consistent with the intent and purpose of this Ordinance to promote public health, safety, and general welfare.
(d) Nuisance Factors. That adequate measures have been or will be taken to prevent or control offensive odor, fumes, dust, noise, and vibration, so that none of these will constitute a nuisance and to control lighted signs and other lights in such a manner that no disturbance to neighboring properties will result.
(e) Comprehensive Plan. That the conditional use is not inconsistent with the comprehensive plan and land use policies of the County.

Id. § 45.09(3)(C)(a)-(e).

Initially, the Dallas County Planning and Zoning Commission considered the application and following public hearings approved it on May 29, 2001.

The ordinance originally provided that applications for conditional use permits be first submitted to the Planning and Zoning Commission and then be approved by the Board of Supervisors. Hallett Construction had earlier requested a permit to remove gravel on land east of and adjacent to the Pearsons' property. The Planning and Zoning Commission approved Hallett's application on October 17, 2000, following which the Board of Supervisors approved the application on December 21, 2000. In addition to the Board of Supervisors' approval, Hallett obtained Board of Adjustment approval on March 8, 2001.

Iowa Code sections 335.10 and 335.15(2) (2001) require that a county board of adjustment rather than the county board of supervisors approve all conditional uses or special uses. Because of these statutory provisions, Knapp-Pulver, L.C. and W & G McKinney Farms, L.P.—intervenors in the present action—successfully challenged in the district court the Dallas County ordinance provision that was contrary to these statutes. On July 24, 2001, the district court held that conditional uses or special uses be approved by a county board of adjustment rather than the county board of supervisors. This holding is in accord with our case law. See Holland v. City Council, 662 N.W.2d 681, 683 (Iowa 2003).

On September 19, 2001, the Board of Supervisors amended the zoning ordinance to require that conditional uses be approved by the Board of Adjustment in accordance with sections 335.10 and 335.15(2). The amendment provided that applications that had been reviewed by the

675 N.W.2d 548
Planning and Zoning Commission and had received a positive recommendation from that body could be submitted directly to the Board of Adjustment for approval

Thereafter on September 20, 2001, Martin Marietta's attorney at the time, Randy V. Hefner, requested in writing that the Board of Adjustment consider Martin Marietta's application which had been on file since March 16, 2001. In the same letter, Hefner, who was also representing Hallett, requested that Hallett's application also be considered. As mentioned, Hallett had already obtained approval from the Board of Adjustment on March 8, 2001; however, this was before the Board of Supervisors had amended the ordinance. (Apparently, Hallett and the Board of Supervisors were not sure whether this prior approval from the Board of Adjustment was valid. Hallett had discontinued operations at the request of the Board of Supervisors pending a hearing before the Board of Adjustment.)

In the September 20 letter, Hefner wrote:

There are, however, two applications which have been reviewed by [Planning and Zoning], but not voted upon by the Supervisors. These are, of course, the Nextel and Martin Marietta applications. Since Hallett has been asked by Dallas County to not operate pending a hearing before the Board of Adjustment, it would also logically fall into this category.
Thus, we submit that these three applications should be processed by the Board of Adjustment first and as soon as possible.... We do understand that the Martin Marietta application is likely to be the most controversial application and will likely require the longest hearing, and thus we would understand scheduling that application as the last of these three to be heard.

On October 9 the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution "to proceed with a mining study for a compatible or suitable land use in designated areas." The study was deemed necessary to "making informed and appropriate decisions for permitting mining operations in Dallas County."

On October 16 the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution seeking review by the Planning and Zoning Commission of a proposed ordinance regarding applications for mining operations in Dallas County. Within that proposed ordinance was a prohibition from accepting, processing, or setting for hearing "applications for conditional use permits for the mining of sand, gravel or limestone within Dallas County filed after October 16, 2001" for six months or until the completion of the mining study, whichever was earlier.

On October 17 the Board of Adjustment held a hearing on the Hallett application and approved it in substantially the same form that the Board of Supervisors had approved it on December 20, 2000. McKinney Farms challenged the Board of Adjustment's decision by writ of certiorari to the district court. The only issue raised was whether the issuance of the conditional use permit by the Board of Adjustment complied with the Dallas County Comprehensive Plan. The district court denied McKinney Farms' request for relief. Thereafter McKinney Farms appealed and we affirmed. See W & G McKinney Farms, L.P. v. Dallas County Bd. of Adjustment, 674 N.W.2d 99 (Iowa 2004).

On October 23 the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution in which it noted that the Board of Adjustment was to hear the Martin Marietta application on the following day. The resolution also noted that the Board of Adjustment's approval of the Hallett application on October 17 "impact[ed]"

675 N.W.2d 549
the Martin Marietta application. The resolution further noted that the Board of Supervisors had approved Hallett's application but not Martin Marietta's and that it did not "intend to convey approval of the [Martin Marietta] application by its action on the Hallett application." Finally, the resolution requested the Board of Adjustment
not [to] approve or deny the [Martin Marietta] application for Conditional Use Permit based on any action previously taken by the Board of Supervisors and that no permit be issued to any applicant unless and until the Board of Adjustment is satisfied that the application meets all applicable requirements of Chapter 45 of the Dallas County Code of Ordinances.

The following day—October 24—the Board of Adjustment conducted a public hearing on Martin Marietta's application. The Board heard from individuals who opposed the application as well as from those who favored it. The Board denied the application by a vote of four to one.

II. Proceedings.

On November 26 Martin Marietta and the Pearsons (hereinafter collectively Martin Marietta) filed their petition for writ of certiorari, declaratory judgment, mandamus, and judicial review against Dallas County and the Board of Adjustment (hereinafter County). On February 11, 2002, the district court ordered that a writ of certiorari should issue and be served upon the Board of Adjustment. On March 11 the Board of Adjustment filed a return to the writ.

On April 11 the district court granted motions to intervene filed by Knapp-Pulver and McKinney Farms, property owners near the property in question. Later, the district court sustained...

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12 practice notes
  • Kay v. City of Rancho Palos Verdes, No. 05-56149.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • September 21, 2007
    ...Ind. 56, 245 N.E.2d 337, 343-44 (1969) (substantial evidence or abuse of discretion); Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. v. Dallas County, 675 N.W.2d 544, 551 (Iowa 2004) (substantial evidence); Combined Inv. Co. v. Bd. of County Comm'rs, 227 Kan. 17, 605 P.2d 533, 543 (1980) (substantial evid......
  • Office of Citizens' Aide/Ombudsman v. Edwards, No. 11–1452.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • January 16, 2013
    ...warden's email purportedly dictating the penalty the independent ALJ was to impose. See Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. v. Dallas County, 675 N.W.2d 544, 554–55 (Iowa 2004) (allowing mental-process privilege to be overcome upon a strong showing of bad faith or improper behavior). The Ombuds......
  • Lewis Investments, Inc. v. City of Iowa City, No. 03-1383.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • September 2, 2005
    ...hearing and notice requirements made board's decision a quasi-judicial function); Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. v. Dallas County, 675 N.W.2d 544, 553 (Iowa 2004) (holding board of adjustment was quasi-judicial where its function was essentially fact-finding). As such, it could be challeng......
  • Office of Citizens' Aide/Ombudsman v. Edwards, No. 11-1452
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • December 14, 2012
    ...warden's email purportedly dictating the penalty the independent ALJ was to impose. See Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. v. Dallas County, 675 N.W.2d 544, 554-55 (Iowa 2004) (allowing mental-process privilege to bePage 3overcome upon a strong showing of bad faith or improper behavior). The O......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
12 cases
  • Kay v. City of Rancho Palos Verdes, No. 05-56149.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • September 21, 2007
    ...Ind. 56, 245 N.E.2d 337, 343-44 (1969) (substantial evidence or abuse of discretion); Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. v. Dallas County, 675 N.W.2d 544, 551 (Iowa 2004) (substantial evidence); Combined Inv. Co. v. Bd. of County Comm'rs, 227 Kan. 17, 605 P.2d 533, 543 (1980) (substantial evid......
  • Office of Citizens' Aide/Ombudsman v. Edwards, No. 11–1452.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • January 16, 2013
    ...warden's email purportedly dictating the penalty the independent ALJ was to impose. See Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. v. Dallas County, 675 N.W.2d 544, 554–55 (Iowa 2004) (allowing mental-process privilege to be overcome upon a strong showing of bad faith or improper behavior). The Ombuds......
  • Lewis Investments, Inc. v. City of Iowa City, No. 03-1383.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • September 2, 2005
    ...hearing and notice requirements made board's decision a quasi-judicial function); Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. v. Dallas County, 675 N.W.2d 544, 553 (Iowa 2004) (holding board of adjustment was quasi-judicial where its function was essentially fact-finding). As such, it could be challeng......
  • Office of Citizens' Aide/Ombudsman v. Edwards, No. 11-1452
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • December 14, 2012
    ...warden's email purportedly dictating the penalty the independent ALJ was to impose. See Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. v. Dallas County, 675 N.W.2d 544, 554-55 (Iowa 2004) (allowing mental-process privilege to bePage 3overcome upon a strong showing of bad faith or improper behavior). The O......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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