from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Greg
W. Steensland, Judge.
Vogt appeals the dismissal of his petition for declaratory
judgment concerning a zoning regulation amendment. REVERSED
L. Pray and Thomas D. Story of Brown, Winick, Graves, Gross,
Baskerville & Schoenebaum, P.L.C., Des Moines, for
M. Livingston and Kristopher K. Madsen of Stuart Tinley Law
Firm LLP, Council Bluffs, for appellees.
Considered by Bower, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Doyle, JJ.
Vogt appeals from a district court order granting the City of
Carter Lake (City) and Carter Lake City Council's (City
Council) motion to dismiss. Vogt sought a declaratory
judgment to enjoin amending the zoning regulations to allow
gaming facilities in C-2 General Commercial Districts. To the
extent the zoning district applied to property outside of
tribal trust property, we find the court had jurisdiction
over the action, and we reverse and remand for further
Background Facts & Proceedings
before April 2000, the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska
("Tribe"), a federally-recognized Indian Nation,
acquired a parcel of their aboriginal land in Carter Lake,
Iowa. In 2007, the land was transferred to the United States
to hold in trust for the benefit of the Tribe. The Tribe and
the City approved a cooperative relationship agreement to
address governmental issues and services. In 2009, the
parties amended the agreement; the Tribe agreed to seek
changes in zoning regulations for commercial retail
establishments and the City agreed it would not unreasonably
withhold approval. The Tribe announced plans to build and
operate a gaming facility on its land.
4, 2018, following a public hearing, the City Council
approved a zoning amendment adding "gaming
facilities" to the list of permitted uses in C-2 General
Commercial Districts. This amendment would allow the Tribe to
construct and operate a casino on trust land in Carter
Lake. It is unclear from the record, but the
petition implies the C-2 General Commercial District includes
land outside the borders of the Tribe's trust property.
Vogt asserts the City's Comprehensive Plan at the time of
the amendment prohibited massive redevelopment, did not
contemplate or authorize gaming facilities, and contained
goals "antithetical to a large casino."
September 24, Vogt filed suit against the City and City
Council seeking a declaratory judgment claiming the zoning
amendment violated the City's Comprehensive Plan, as well
as a writ of mandamus compelling the City to enforce its
Cooperative Agreement with the Tribe and limit use of the
trust property to a tobacco shop. Vogt also filed a motion
for temporary injunction seeking to prevent the City and City
Council from authorizing or permitting construction or
operation of a gaming facility within Carter Lake, regardless
of the zoning status.
October 23, the City filed a motion to dismiss and opposition
to the temporary injunction. The City stated Vogt's
claims were preempted by federal law and, consequently, the
court lacked jurisdiction. It also asserted a writ of
certiorari was the exclusive means to challenge the zoning
decision, which was time-barred. On November 19, Vogt
voluntarily dismissed his request for a writ of mandamus in
light of an amendment to the Cooperative Agreement predating
his petition, which approved a casino facility.
district court found Vogt's claims sought to interfere
with the Tribe's ability to conduct gaming on sovereign
land and, therefore, were preempted by federal law and
regulation. The court granted the City and City Council's
motion to dismiss. Vogt appeals.