from the Iowa District Court for Washington County, Randy S.
of Bunker Mill Bridge, Inc. appeals the district court's
ruling on its petition for writ of certiorari upholding the
order of the Washington County Board of Supervisors vacating
a portion of a secondary highway.
Siobhan Briley of Pugh Hagan Prahm PLC, Coralville, for
Gish and Chauncey Moulding (until withdrawal) of Washington
County Attorney's Office, Washington, for appellee.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., Vogel, S.J., * and Blane,
VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.
decide whether we have subject matter jurisdiction to review
a decision to vacate and close a road and whether, if we do,
the decision is supported by substantial evidence.
Washington County Board of Supervisors vacated and closed a
portion of a public road near a historic bridge that was
restored by Friends of Bunker Mill Bridge, Inc. (FBMB). FBMB
sought review of the decision by filing a petition for writ
of certiorari with the district court. The board moved to
dismiss the petition on the ground that review was
statutorily foreclosed. The district court denied the motion.
Following a non-evidentiary hearing, the court concluded the
board's decision was supported by substantial evidence.
The court denied FBMB's petition.
appeal, FBMB does not contest the board's authority to
vacate and close the road. See Iowa Code
§§ 306.4(2) (2017) ("Jurisdiction and control
over the secondary roads shall be vested in the county board
of supervisors of the respective counties."), .10
(granting county board of supervisors authority "on its
own motion, to alter or vacate and close any such highway . .
. over which said agency has jurisdiction and control").
Nor does FBMB challenge the statutorily authorized procedures
associated with a "vacation and closing"
proceeding. See id. §§ 306.11,
FBMB simply contends the board's decision was unsupported
by substantial evidence and was unreasonable, arbitrary, and
response, the board suggests district court review of its
decision was foreclosed. The board raises the issue in
passing and without having filed a cross-appeal from the
district court's denial of its dismissal motion.
Nonetheless, because the issue could implicate the
court's subject matter jurisdiction, we begin there.
State v. Mandicino, 509 N.W.2d 481, 482
(Iowa 1993) ("Want of subject matter jurisdiction can be
raised at any time.").
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
matter jurisdiction refers to the power of a court 'to
hear and determine cases of the general class to which the
proceedings in question belong, not merely the particular
case then occupying the court's attention.'"
Id. (citation omitted). "[S]ubject matter
jurisdiction . . . cannot be waived by consent, waiver, or
estoppel." Id. at 483. "When a lower court
lacks the authority to exercise its subject matter
jurisdiction so as to adjudicate the merits of a claim,
issue, or question, an appellate court also lacks the power
to determine the merits of the claim, issue, or question
presented to the lower court." Osage Conservation
Club v. Bd. of Supervisers, 611 N.W.2d
294, 299 (Iowa 2000) (quoting Ferguson v. Union
Pac. R.R., 601 N.W.2d 907, ...