Wednesday, June 08, 2016
Ind. Gov't. - "Rogers Group (Americus) quarry mired in legal wranglings"
Updating a long list of earlier ILB posts involving a proposed quarry near Americus, in Tippecanoe County, the most recent on April 20, 2015, headed ""Lawsuit over Americus quarry continues"," followed by a March 28, 2016 Court of Appeals opinion, Ron Wilkins reports today in the Lafayette Journal & Courier:
Rogers Group's proposed limestone quarry in northeastern Tippecanoe County received a principled legal victory in March, but practically, the project remains mired in courtroom wranglings.
The Court of Appeals of Indiana ruled March 28 that the Tippecanoe County Board of Commissioners exceeded its authority when it adopted an ordinance in July 2014 that banned mining or quarry operations if more than 100 homes were within a two-mile radius of the operation. The ordinance made it impossible for any mining in the county. * * *
Rogers Group, which is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., sued the county in 2015, and Tippecanoe Superior 1 Judge Randy Williams upheld the commissioners' actions, as well as the county zoning rule that states that mining or quarry operations in a flood plain must receive a special exception.
The appeals court, however, ruled that the commissioners' ordinance was actually a zoning ordinance. The court overturned Williams' ruling and the ordinance because the specific procedure for adopting a zoning ordinance was not followed, according to the court's decision.
Rogers Group also challenged the need for a special exception from the Tippecanoe County Board of Zoning Appeals before it can mine limestone from the 524-acre site northeast of Americus. The site sets north of Old Indiana 25 and the Wabash River and lies in what is currently a farm field that covers the old Wabash and Erie Canal in that area.
The appeals court ruled the county could require Rogers Group to get the special exception, according to the decision.
Without that exception, Rogers Group's quarry appears to be blocked.
Rogers Group filed for a motion for rehearing at the court of appeals, Tippecanoe County Attorney Doug Masson said. However, the appeals court denied the motion on May 26, Masson said.
This gives the Rogers Group 30 days to file for the case to be transferred to the Indiana Supreme Court, Masson said.
Because the 30-day deadline falls on a weekend, Rogers Group has until June 27 to petition for the transfer.