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Zimmerman v. Board of County Commissioners
Kansas Supreme Court
218 P.3d 400 (2009)
Roger Zimmerman and other landowners (collectively, the landowners) (plaintiffs) entered into contracts to build commercial wind farms on their properties in Wabaunsee County, Kansas. When the Board of County Commissioners of Wabaunsee County (the board) learned of the wind-farm plans, it amended its zoning code to prohibit commercial wind farms. The landowners sued in state district court to invalidate the ban, and several owners of wind rights (the wind-rights owners) within the county intervened. The district judge dismissed the suit. The district judge found that the board had properly considered the dramatic negative impact that commercial wind farms would have on the county’s stated goals of maintaining the rural, scenic aesthetic of the county and developing tourism. Additionally, the district judge found that the board properly considered that the majority of public input was opposed to commercial wind farms. The landowners and the wind-rights owners appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court, arguing that (1) a countywide ban was unreasonable because it was based solely on community objections to aesthetics; (2) the board failed to consider the impact of the ban on the wind-rights owners; and (3) the board failed to consider whether commercial wind farms could be located in areas that would not affect aesthetics.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Nuss, J.)
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