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Gardiner v. Boundary County Board of Commissioners

March 18, 2010

PATRICK GARDINER AND ADA GARDINER, HUSBAND AND WIFE PETITIONERS-RESPONDENTS,
v.
BOUNDARY COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT, AND TUNGSTEN HOLDINGS, INC. INTERVENOR-APPELLANT.



Appeal from District Court of the First Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Boundary County. Hon. James R. Michaud, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: W. Jones, Justice

2010 Opinion No. 31

The decision of the district court is affirmed, including the award of attorney fees and costs. Attorney fees and costs on appeal are awarded to respondents.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Tungsten Holding, Inc. (Tungsten) owns a parcel of land in Boundary County, Idaho that is zoned agriculture/forestry under Boundary County, Idaho, Zoning and Subdivision Ordinance 99-06 (the Zoning Ordinance). In order to operate a commercial gravel pit on its premises, on March 22, 2005, Tungsten filed an application to obtain a special use permit. The Boundary County Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing on the application on May 19, 2005, and made a recommendation to deny the special use permit. The Boundary County Board of Commissioners (the Board) subsequently held public hearings on July 26, 2005, and August 8, 2005, and the Board thereafter granted a special use permit on September 6, 2005.

The respondents, Patrick and Ada Gardiner, own real property located a quarter mile from the commercial gravel pit on which they operate a registered Angus cattle breeding ranch. Following the grant of the permit, the Gardiners filed a petition for judicial review. Before review could occur, however, the parties agreed to remand the proceeding to the Board for consideration without the participation of Commissioner Dan Dinning, the brother of Rick Dinning, the principal owner of Tungsten. Commissioner Dan Dinning had participated in the public hearings and deliberations that led to the Board's initial decision, but refrained from voting on the issue.

On remand, the Board held an additional public hearing on July 26, 2005, without Dan Dinning, and the Board ultimately granted the special use permit on September 7, 2006. Following the grant of the special use permit, the Gardiners again filed a petition for judicial review. In a Memorandum Opinion and Order, the district court overturned the Board's ruling and declared the special use permit void. The Board timely filed this appeal. Tungsten was subsequently given leave to intervene in these proceedings.

ISSUES ON APPEAL

1. Whether the special use permit was granted unlawfully because Chapter 7, Section 1(E) of the Zoning Ordinance conflicts with I.C. § 67-6512(a), and because operation of a gravel pit does not qualify as a conditional use.

2. Whether the grant of the special use permit amounted to unlawful spot zoning.

3. Whether the Gardiners were deprived of an impartial tribunal by the Board.

4. Whether operation of a gravel pit conforms to Boundary County's Comprehensive Plan.

5. Whether the justification of the Board for the grant of the special use permit is supported by substantial evidence in the record.

6. Whether the Board held Tungsten to the burden of proof. 7. Whether the Board's ―Findings and Decision‖ contains information sufficient to comply with I.C. § 67-6535.

8. Whether the Gardiners needed to show a violation of their substantial rights in order to ...


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