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Supreme Court Decides Zoning Controversy


Zoning and local government land use regulations often spark controversy. This is true in communities of all sizes across the country.

A northeast Nebraska livestock feedyard, with all required permits issued by the Department of Environmental Quality, and local authorities, complied with a county zoning law. A neighbor challenged the status of compliance before the county governing board. The board ruled for the feedlot.

Dissatisfied with the outcome, the feedyard’s neighbor went to court claiming the district judge should make a new decision, substituting his own judgment for that of the county board. The neighbors tacked a nuisance claim onto their suit.

In the District Court, the cattle feeding enterprise, represented by Domina Law Group pc llo , prevailed. “The district judge agreed with our arguments about zoning law compliance. He held his job is to review the county board’s decision for compliance with legal processes, and the existence of some evidence, but not to substitute his judgment,” Dave Domina said. The trial judge also held insufficient nuisance evidence was presented to justify further proceedings.

The Nebraska Supreme Court’s, March 2, 2007, judgment affirmed the trial judge, and held the proper standard of review was applied. A district court does not substitute its judgment for that of a governing political body in an area where the statutes commit decision making to the local government.

The Supreme Court held the nuisance claim should be tried fully on its merits before the judge, and not disposed of on summary judgment. The court’s nuisance ruling announced no new Rules of Law, but held the trial judge should have conducted a full hearing on the nuisance issue before making his decision.

“We are pleased with the results. The important point in the case – the legal point – was established,” Dave Domina said. “We never had concern about the nuisance claim, and still do not. The businessmen who operate this enterprise do an excellent job, and believe they had the support of all their neighbors except one."

March, 2007
David A. Domina

Domina Law Group pc llo is a firm of trial lawyers. We specialize in complex litigation on a national basis. Our lawyers are ethical, aggressive, and committed to providing spirit and vitality to the judicial system and our client’s legal rights

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