W.A.R. challenged a development order for a lime rock mine as inconsistent with plan policies that protected “high quality” wetlands from development and required the protection of environmentally sensitive lands from mining operations. The development order at issue included a condition that prohibited mining excavation until all other regulatory permits had been granted, including an excavation and fill permit.
Both the circuit court and the district court agreed with the developer that this condition was sufficient to require compliance with the comprehensive plan, and that the development order was therefore consistent with the plan.
“Early” development orders such as rezonings, DRI development orders, or general site plans are frequently challenged for compliance with policies that can only be evaluated based on more specific plans and programs. This case demonstrates that these “general” development orders can be granted without doing all of the comprehensive studies that may be required prior to actual development, by including appropriate conditions requiring later development orders that will require compliance.