Perkins v. Bd. of Supervisors, No. 99-0583.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtSTREIT, Justice.
Citation636 N.W.2d 58
PartiesDebra L. PERKINS, Richard L. Wise, Linda R. Wise, Donald Haines, Paul R. Blythe, and Lori R. Blythe, Appellants, v. BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF MADISON COUNTY, Iowa, Appellee, and Madison County Livestock & Fair Association, Intervenor-Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 99-0583.
Decision Date15 November 2001

636 N.W.2d 58

Debra L. PERKINS, Richard L. Wise, Linda R. Wise, Donald Haines, Paul R. Blythe, and Lori R. Blythe, Appellants,
v.
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF MADISON COUNTY, Iowa, Appellee, and
Madison County Livestock & Fair Association, Intervenor-Appellee

No. 99-0583.

Supreme Court of Iowa.

November 15, 2001.


636 N.W.2d 62
G. Stephen Walters of Jordan, Oliver & Walters, P.C., Winterset, for appellants

Martin S. Ramsey, County Attorney, for appellee Board.

James L. Sayre of James L. Sayre, P.C., Clive, for intervenor.

STREIT, Justice.

Neighbors to the Madison County fairgrounds fear the wished-for figure-eight auto racing will amount to "insanity at its finest."1 This case presents a challenge to the county government's allowing such races during the county fair by the Board of Supervisors exempting the fair from zoning. The appellants are all residents of Madison County, Iowa, and live near the racetrack in issue. The Madison County Board of Supervisors enacted Amendment No. 22 to the Madison County Zoning Ordinance (the "Ordinance") to exempt the Madison County fairgrounds run by the Madison County Livestock and Fair Association from the Ordinance for the five days of the fair. The appellants contend Amendment No. 22 should be struck down on several related constitutional grounds, as a violation of the Ordinance, and as an illegal delegation of power to the Association. We find the Madison County Board of Supervisors had authority to enact Amendment No. 22 and did not illegally delegate power to the Association. We also find Amendment No. 22 is valid spot zoning. It does not violate the Privileges and Immunities Clause and does not constitute a taking of private property. We

636 N.W.2d 63
affirm the district court's denial of the petition for writ of certiorari

I. Factual and Procedural History

A. Prior Litigation

In 1996 the Madison County Livestock and Fair Association constructed a racetrack to hold figure-eight races. The Association is an agricultural society under chapter 174 of the Iowa Code. Debra Perkins, Richard Wise, Linda Wise, Donald Haines, Paul Blythe, and Lori Blythe (all the foregoing, the "property owners") each resides near the Madison County Fairgrounds.

The property owners brought suit seeking to have the racetrack removed or to permanently enjoin figure-eight racing at the fairgrounds. The district court held the races were not a nuisance, but found the Association violated the zoning ordinances by not obtaining the necessary permit and variance for construction of the track. The court denied an award of damages to the property owners but enjoined the Association from holding figure-eight races until it obtained a special use permit and variance from the local zoning board. The Association appealed the injunction and the property owners cross-appealed arguing the court erred in finding the races were not a nuisance. The Iowa Supreme Court held: the owners and operators of the fairgrounds violated the zoning laws by constructing the racetrack; owners of property located farthest from the racetrack failed to establish the races unreasonably interfered with the use and enjoyment of their property as to constitute a nuisance; and the owner of the property nearest the racetrack established the races were a nuisance. Perkins v. Madison County Livestock & Fair Ass'n, 613 N.W.2d 264 (Iowa 2000) (Perkins I).

B. Current Litigation

In an attempt to comply with the district court's ruling, the Association applied for a zoning certificate, but was denied. The Association also filed an application for a special use permit and variance. The Board of Adjustment granted the application for both the special use permit and variance to permit figure-eight racing. In response, the property owners filed a petition for writ of certiorari challenging the Board of Adjustment's issuance of the special use permit and variance. The parties entered a stipulated decree invalidating the issuance of the permit and variance because the Board of Adjustment failed to follow proper administrative procedure and make proper findings of fact.

The Board of Supervisors responded by passing Amendment No. 22 (the "amendment") to the Ordinance. The amendment exempts fairground property from the Ordinance during the five days of the fair. After written findings of fact were prepared, the Board of Adjustment issued a special use permit and variance to the Association. The property owners filed separate petitions for writ of certiorari challenging the legality of the amendment and the issuance of the special use permit and variance. The Association intervened in both actions. The district court sustained the writ with respect to the issuance of the special use permit, but denied the writ challenging the enactment of the amendment. It is from this action that the property owners currently appeal.

On appeal the Association and the Board of Supervisors filed a motion to dismiss claiming the appeal has been mooted by recently enacted legislation amending Iowa Code section 174.3 (1999). The property owners resisted and this court ruled the motion to dismiss would be submitted with the appeal.

636 N.W.2d 64
II. Standard of Review

"A writ of certiorari is proper under Iowa Rule of Civil Procedure 306 when one `exercising judicial functions ... is alleged to have ... acted illegally.' " Dressler v. Iowa Dep't of Transp., 542 N.W.2d 563, 564 (Iowa 1996) (quoting Iowa R. Civ. P. 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 by substantial evidence; or if its actions were unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious." Norland v. Worth County Compensation Bd., 323 N.W.2d 251, 253 (Iowa 1982). We are bound by findings of the trial court if they are supported by substantial evidence in the record. Iowa R.App. P. 14(f)(1); Helmke v. Bd. of Adjustment, 418 N.W.2d 346, 347 (Iowa 1988). Evidence is substantial when "a reasonable mind would accept it as adequate to reach a conclusion." Hasselman v. Hasselman, 596 N.W.2d 541, 545 (Iowa 1999) (quoting Johnson v. Dodgen, 451 N.W.2d 168, 171 (Iowa 1990)). Although our standard of review concerning certiorari actions is generally limited to errors at law, our review in this case is de novo as to the constitutional challenges raised. Dressler, 542 N.W.2d at 564-65.

III. Ruling on Motion to Dismiss

The Board of Supervisors and the Association filed a motion to dismiss, arguing the issues on appeal are moot because of recently enacted legislation. Since this court directed the Association and Board of Supervisors to submit their joint motion to dismiss with the rest of the appeal, the motion to dismiss will be addressed at this time.

The Iowa General Assembly passed legislation amending Iowa Code section 174.3. Prior to the enactment of the amendment, section 174.3 provided as follows:

During the time a fair is being held, no ordinance or resolution of any city shall in any way impair the authority of the society, but it shall have sole and exclusive control over and management of the fair.

(Emphasis added.)

Section 29 of House File 772 amended section 174.3 as follows:

An ordinance or resolution of a county or city shall not in any way impair the authority of the society, but it shall have the sole and exclusive control over and management of such fair.

1999 Iowa Acts ch. 204, § 29 (emphasis added).

Questions can become moot by a change in the facts after the commencement of an action or by changes in the law after the suit is filed. A case is moot if it no longer presents a justiciable controversy because the issues involved are academic or nonexistent. Iowa Bankers Ass'n v. Iowa Credit Union Dep't, 335 N.W.2d 439, 442 (Iowa 1983). The key in assessing whether an appeal is moot is determining whether the opinion would be of force or effect in the underlying controversy. See id.

The Association and the Board of Supervisors filed a joint motion to dismiss on June 23, 1999. The motion dealt exclusively with the effect, if any, of the amendment to Iowa Code section 174.3. The amendment to Iowa Code section 174.3 became effective on July 1, 1999, after the motion was filed. Unlike Amendment No. 22, this amendment does not make specific reference to zoning ordinances. Furthermore, the July 1, 1999 amendment to Iowa Code section 174.3 does not go so far as to

636 N.W.2d 65
declare laws like Amendment No. 22 have no force or effect. In the event the Iowa legislature rescinded the amendment to section 174.3, Amendment 22's validity would resurface. As such, the amendment to section 174.3 does not render the challenged Amendment void. Since Amendment No. 22 has not been repealed by the Board of Supervisors, the issues before us are not moot and the motion to dismiss is denied

IV. The Merits

On appeal, the property owners challenge the constitutionality of Amendment No. 22 on seven different grounds. As several of the issues are related, we will discuss some of them in combination. The property owners argue the amendment constitutes a taking of private property without just compensation and violates the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Iowa Constitution. The property owners also assert the following related issues: (1) the amendment violates the requirements of uniformity and adherence to a comprehensive plan of Iowa Code sections 335.4 and 335.5, respectively; and (2) the amendment is effectively illegal spot zoning. Finally, the property owners challenge actions of the Board of Supervisors as otherwise illegal and as an unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious exercise of the zoning power. As a corollary, they assert the Board of Supervisors illegally delegated legislative power to the Association. Taking this issue into consideration...

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  • Behm v. City of Cedar Rapids & Gatso United States, Inc., No. 16-1031
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • August 31, 2018
    ...of equal protection and privileges and immunities. There is Iowa authority for this proposition. See Perkins v. Bd. of Supervisors, 636 N.W.2d 58, 73 (Iowa 2001). In light of the positions of the parties, we have no occasion to consider whether these claims should be pulled apart. Page 25 F......
  • Bd. of Water Works Trs. of Des Moines v. Sac Cnty. Bd. of Supervisors, No. 16-0076
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • January 27, 2017
    ...to bear public burdens which, in all fairness and justice, should be borne by the public as a whole." P e rkins v. Bd. of Supervisors , 636 N.W.2d 58, 69–70 (Iowa 2001) (quoting Armstrong v. United States , 364 U.S. 40, 49, 80 S.Ct. 1563, 1569, 4 L.Ed.2d 1554, 1561 (1960) ). The same princi......
  • Hughes v. City of Cedar Rapids, No. 14–CV–111–LRR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • July 2, 2015
    ...traditional equal protection analysis to its Privileges and Immunities Clause." Resistance at 44 (citing Perkins v. Bd. of Supervisors, 636 N.W.2d 58, 72–73 (Iowa 2001) ). Plaintiffs contend that "the history and depth of the Iowa Constitution's pre-Civil War privileges and immunities claus......
  • Behm v. City of Cedar Rapids, No. 16-1031
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • January 25, 2019
    ...of equal protection and privileges and immunities. There is Iowa authority for this proposition. See Perkins v. Bd. of Supervisors , 636 N.W.2d 58, 73 (Iowa 2001). In light of the positions of the parties, we have no occasion to consider whether these claims should be pulled apart.Further, ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
51 cases
  • Behm v. City of Cedar Rapids & Gatso United States, Inc., No. 16-1031
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • August 31, 2018
    ...of equal protection and privileges and immunities. There is Iowa authority for this proposition. See Perkins v. Bd. of Supervisors, 636 N.W.2d 58, 73 (Iowa 2001). In light of the positions of the parties, we have no occasion to consider whether these claims should be pulled apart. Page 25 F......
  • Bd. of Water Works Trs. of Des Moines v. Sac Cnty. Bd. of Supervisors, No. 16-0076
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • January 27, 2017
    ...to bear public burdens which, in all fairness and justice, should be borne by the public as a whole." P e rkins v. Bd. of Supervisors , 636 N.W.2d 58, 69–70 (Iowa 2001) (quoting Armstrong v. United States , 364 U.S. 40, 49, 80 S.Ct. 1563, 1569, 4 L.Ed.2d 1554, 1561 (1960) ). The same princi......
  • Hughes v. City of Cedar Rapids, No. 14–CV–111–LRR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • July 2, 2015
    ...traditional equal protection analysis to its Privileges and Immunities Clause." Resistance at 44 (citing Perkins v. Bd. of Supervisors, 636 N.W.2d 58, 72–73 (Iowa 2001) ). Plaintiffs contend that "the history and depth of the Iowa Constitution's pre-Civil War privileges and immunities claus......
  • Behm v. City of Cedar Rapids, No. 16-1031
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • January 25, 2019
    ...of equal protection and privileges and immunities. There is Iowa authority for this proposition. See Perkins v. Bd. of Supervisors , 636 N.W.2d 58, 73 (Iowa 2001). In light of the positions of the parties, we have no occasion to consider whether these claims should be pulled apart.Further, ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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