Thursday, June 21, 2012

Key Indiana Court of Appeals Decision - Airport Zoning Authority Lies With City, Not Airport

In a key decision with wide-ranging implications, the Indiana Court of Appeals has sided with Zionsville in a dispute with the Indianapolis Executive Airport over who has the authority over zoning matters on airport owned property.

In an article posted today, IBJ reporter Scott Olson, says that the airport is run by the Hamilton County Airport Authority, even though a portion of the property lies within Boone County. 
Zionsville’s dispute with the airport’s operator, the Hamilton County Airport Authority, began in 2008 when the town annexed Union Township.

Hamilton County purchased the airport, which is located on East State Road 32 just within neighboring Boone County’s eastern border, in 2003.

Boone County Commissioners and the Boone County Area Plan Commission had allowed the airport authority to govern land use at the airport by creating a special airport district under the county zoning ordinance.

But, in February 2010, nearly two years after the annexation, Zionsville officials notified the authority that it needed approval from the town’s planning department before obtaining construction permits.
The Airport Authority took the matter to Court in Marion County, and that Judge decided in favor of the Authority.  Now, on appeal, the decision has gone the other way.
The Indiana Court of Appeals’ opinion was written by Senior Judge Randall Shepard, who retired in March as chief justice of the state’s Supreme Court.

“The Indiana Supreme Court has held that a general unit of government maintains zoning authority within its boundaries, even as to other general governments,” Shepard wrote.
Here in Marion County, the Indianapolis Airport Authority does its own zoning - with no public input mind you.  They do whatever they feel like, without regard to neighbors and their property values.  Take for example the hideous container storage use on the airport's north side in an area previously used for airport parking.  The effect of this eyesore on abutting private property is apparently of no concern to the Airport Authority.

With this ruling now in place, Indianapolis should restore its sole jurisdiction in zoning matters over at the Indianapolis Airport so that the Airport is forced to be a better neighbor, and so residents and private property owners can get a fair hearing - as opposed to no hearing at all.


Paul K. Ogden said...

The decision was by the Indiana Court of Appeals, not the Supreme Court. You might want to fix.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Thanks Paul - I thought I had, but I missed one spot. I'll change it now.

Anonymous said...

The big bosses in the city (not the ones in the Mayor's office - I doubt whether they have a clue) know that what the airport has been doing is bogus, but the city rolled over decades ago and shows no signs of wanting to do anything differently.