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Kansas Supreme Court - 98487 – Zimmerman v. Bd. of Wabaunsee County Comm'rs

This court case dates back to 2004, and a decision by the Wabaunsee KS county board to ban industrial wind turbines in the county. The suit was filed by land owners in the county, and the wind developers to whom they leased their land. In 2007, the district court dismissed most of the claims. In this decision the Kansas Supreme court upholds most of the findings of the lower court. A portion of the decision is provided below. The full decision can be accessed by selecting the document links on this page.

EXCERPT

The district court granted the Board's various dispositive motions. Plaintiffs and Intervenors appealed, and the Board cross-appealed. Pursuant to K.S.A. 20-3017, we transferred the case from the Court of Appeals.

In Zimmerman v. Board of Wabaunsee County Comm'rs, 289 Kan. 926, 218 P.3d 400 (2009) (Zimmerman I), we affirmed the district court's decision on several issues. We specifically held that the district court did not err (1) in determining that the Board's decision to amend the zoning regulations was lawful; (2) in determining the Board's decision to amend was reasonable; (3) in precluding Plaintiffs and Intervenors from conducting further discovery on the issue of reasonableness; (4) in dismissing the claim that the Board's decision violated the Contracts Clause of the United States Constitution; (5) in dismissing the claims that the zoning regulation amendments were preempted by state and federal law; and (6) in determining that Intervenors' action was commenced in a timely manner.

Concurrent with the release of Zimmerman I, we ordered the parties to submit supplemental briefs on certain questions raised in the issues originally presented on appeal by both Plaintiffs and Intervenors. Those general issues, presently before us for review after the parties' supplemental oral arguments, focus on whether the district court erred in deciding as a matter of law that the Board did not violate the Takings Clause or the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.

Our order requiring supplemental briefing on the Takings and Commerce Clauses necessarily stayed our resolution of two issues originally presented on appeal by Intervenors: whether the district court erred in dismissing their claims (1) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (2006) and (2) for inverse condemnation.
The first issue on appeal and our holding is as follows:

1. Did the district court err by disposing of the Takings Clause claim as a matter of law? No.

Because there was no taking, the district court did not err in also disposing of Intervenors' related takings-based claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and their claim for inverse condemnation.

The second issue on appeal and our holding is as follows:

2. Did the district court err in dismissing the Commerce Clause claim as a matter of law? We hold there was no discrimination against interstate commerce. However, the claim alleging the Board's decision placed incidental burdens on interstate commerce that outweighed the benefits is remanded to the district court for analysis under Pike v. Bruce Church, Inc., 397 U.S. 137, 90 S. Ct. 844, 25 L. Ed. 2d 174 (1970).

Because Intervenors also made a burden-based claim under the Commerce Clause in their 42 U.S.C. § 1983 contention, that specific claim also is remanded.

Accordingly, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings.

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Wabaunsee Appeal Kansas Supreme Court

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Source: http://www.kscourts.org/Cas...

OCT 20 2011
http://www.windaction.org/posts/49954-kansas-supreme-court-98487-zimmerman-v-bd-of-wabaunsee-county-comm-rs
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