Common Council lacked standing to challenge BZA’s ruling and to seek disannexation of the subject land

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The Common Council of Michigan City (“Common Council”) appeals the dismissal of its petition for writ of certiorari against the Board of Zoning Appeals of Michigan City (“the BZA”) and its complaint for declaratory judgment seeking to disannex certain land.  The issues before us are:

I. whether the Common Council has standing to challenge a decision of the BZA; and

II. whether the Common Council has standing to seek the disannexation of land it had annexed in 1971.
Conclusion (slip op. at 11):  The trial court was correct in concluding that the Common Council lacked standing to challenge the BZA’s ruling and to seek disannexation of the subject land. We affirm the dismissal of the petition for certiorari and declaratory judgment complaint.  Affirmed.


Key Analysis
(slip op. at 6, 7, 8, 10):  “‘[A] party seeking to petition for certiorari on behalf of a community must show some special injury other than that sustained by the community as a whole.’” . . . a municipal legislative body, because it represents a community as a whole, generally does not suffer any special injury other than that sustained by the community as whole by a board of zoning appeals decision. . . There is no indication in any case that the standing or lack thereof of a municipal body depends upon the nature of a board of zoning appeals ruling or the grounds for that ruling. . . We decline to extend the limited right of municipal taxpayers and landowners to file declaratory judgment actions challenging the validity of an annexation to the municipality that approved the annexation in the first place.

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