Saturday, June 07, 2008

Nebraska Supreme Court holds that hog confinement lot operator who appealed Madison County's refusal to grant him a variance used the denovo appeal procedure to the District Court. In re Application of Olmer, S-07-247, 275 Neb. 852 When a decision regarding a conditional use or special exception permit is appealed under § 23-114.01(5) RRS Neb (Cum. Supp. 2006) and a trial is held de novo under § 25-1937 (Reissue 1995) RRS Neb, the findings of the district court shall have the effect of a jury verdict and the court’s judgment will not be set aside by an appellate court unless the court’s factual findings are clearly erroneous or the court erred in its application of the law. The district court found that the Board, in denying O lmer’s conditional use permit, acted as a tribunal exercising judicial functions and that therefore, Olmer’s appeal should be treated as a petition in error. Because Olmer’s appeal was treated as a petition in error, the court explained that Olmer was not entitled to a trial de novo, nor could the court receive additional evidence that was not offered at the hearing before the B oard. A ccordingly, the court stated that, in making its decision, it did not consider any exhibits that were not offered and received by the Board. the B oard in the present case, in denying O lmer’s application, was exercising judicial functions which decisions are generally reviewed through the filing of a petition in error.15 B ut § 23-114.01(5)clearly provides for a right of appeal to the district court from the B oard’s decision, without setting forth any procedure for prosecuting the appeal. Therefore, the appeal procedure in § 25-1937 is also implicated.16 A nd there is nothing in§ 23-114.01(5), nor in § 25-1937, that purports to remove the right to proceed in error under § 25-1901. T us, we conclude that under the circumstances presented here, O lmer had the option of filing either a petition in error under § 25-1901 or an appeal under § 25-1937

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