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Indiana Agricultural Law Foundation January 2018 Issue
InAgLaw Hdr

Court of Appeals Upholds Rush County BZA Holding on Dairy

Brianna J. Schroeder
Brianna J. Schroeder
Janzen Agricultural Law, LLC

On January 16, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the Rush County Board of Zoning Appeals' decision to allow a farm family to build and operate a dairy in rural Rush County. The ruling makes it clear the appellate courts will give great deference to a zoning board's decision on local matters. A copy of the opinion (House of Prayer Ministries, Inc. v. Rush County BZA and Milco Dairy Farm, LLC) is available here.

Milco Dairy applied for a special exception to build a dairy on farm property it owned. The county zoning appeals board held two lengthy public hearings at which a nearby church/camp opposed construction of the dairy. The board voted unanimously to grant the special exception, subject to five additional conditions related to manure land application, a shelterbelt of trees and other restrictions.

The camp appealed the decision to a local trial court. After a hearing, the trial court affirmed the county's decision to permit the dairy. Next the camp appealed to the Indiana Court of Appeals. The camp made five arguments: (1) the county did not consider the public interest; (2) the county did not consider impact on surrounding properties; (3) the county did not properly apply setback distances; (4) the county violated the camp's due process right to an impartial tribunal; and (5) the county's decision violated the camp's religious rights.

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