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Iowa Coal Mining Co. v. Monroe County, Iowa

ELR Citation: 31 ELR 20870
Nos. No. 00-2880SI, 257 F.3d 846/(8th Cir., 07/23/2001)

The court holds that a county zoning board's denial of an existing nonconforming use certificate to a strip miner that also wanted to operate a landfill on its property did not violate the strip mining company's due process or equal protection rights or constitute a taking without just compensation. The company sought to operate a landfill at the same site where it had previously been conducting strip mining. While the company was developing a plan for the operation of a landfill, the county was developing an ordinance that would prohibit landfills in the area the company was located. After the company had applied for a landfill permit, the county passed the ordinance prohibiting landfills in the company's area and denied the company's permit. The board subsequently denied the company's application for an existing nonconforming use certificate. The court first holds that there is no dispute that the company had not begun operation of the landfill before an ordinance prohibiting landfills on the company's property was enacted. Therefore, the county zoning board's denial of an existing nonconforming use certificate was reasonable. The court next holds that the board's denial of the certificate did not constitute a taking or deprive the company of its due process or equal protection rights. The fact that the ordinance deprived the company of the most beneficial use of the property does not render the rezoning an unconstitutional taking.

Counsel for Appellants
Steven P. DeVolder
Lewis, Webster, Johnson, Van Winkle & DeVolder
620 Liberty Bldg.
418 6th Ave., Des Moines IA 50309
(515) 243-1000

Counsel for Appellees
John M. Baker
Attorney General's Office
Hoover Bldg., 2d Fl., Des Moines IA 50319
(515) 281-3053

Arnold, R.S., J. Before M.S. Arnold and Montgomery,1 JJ.