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Fowler v. Muscatine County Board of Supervisors

Court of Appeal of Iowa

October 23, 2013

PATRICIA D. FOWLER and MICHAEL P. FOWLER, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
MUSCATINE COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, Defendant-Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, Thomas G. Reidel, Judge.

We must decide (1) whether an ordinance that rezoned certain agricultural property to a commercial classification authorized the operation of a year-round retail establishment and (2) whether the retail establishment could sell ready-to-eat foods.

Michael C. Walker and Samuel R. Bailey of Hopkins & Huebner, P.C., Davenport, for appellant.

James R. Quilty of Quilty Law Firm, Des Moines, for appellees.

Heard by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle, J., and Goodhue, S.J. [*]

VAITHESWARAN, P.J.

In this appeal and cross-appeal, we must decide (1) whether an ordinance that rezoned certain agricultural property to a commercial classification authorized the operation of a year-round retail establishment and (2) whether the retail establishment could sell ready-to-eat foods.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

Patricia and Michael Fowler asked the Muscatine County Zoning Commission to have their property rezoned from A-1 agricultural to C-1 commercial to permit the operation of a seasonal deer processing facility and retail counter. The commission initially tabled the request to facilitate the preparation of a conditional rezoning agreement. The Fowlers, the zoning administrator, and the zoning commission chairperson executed an agreement restricting use of the Fowler's real estate to "[o]nly wild game processing, " "[r]etail products in the wild game category . . . and supporting wild game products, " as well as a single family residence. Attached to the agreement was a description of "Steve's Meat Shop" and the products it sold.

After the conditional rezoning agreement was executed, the commission recommended that the Muscatine County Board of Supervisors approve the rezoning request. The board issued an ordinance rezoning the property from A-1 agricultural to C-1 commercial.

The Fowlers again petitioned to have their property rezoned, this time to "add service of ready to eat food, " meaning "hot sandwiches like Pork Chops, Rib eye Steaks, Bratwurst, Hot Italian Sausages, and more." The commission recommended that the board of supervisors deny the request. The board did so.

The Fowlers filed a petition for writ of certiorari, seeking to annul and vacate the board's denial of their application to sell ready-to-eat foods. The board resisted the petition and additionally argued that retail services only could be offered seasonally. On cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court allowed retail services to be conducted year-round but denied the Fowler's request to include within those retail services "ready-to-eat food" or a "deli shop."

Both sides appealed. Our review of the district court's summary judgment ruling is on error. Pitts v. Farm Bureau Life Ins. ...


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