The Urban Lawyer

Agricultural Law Decisions Update

by Wendie L. Kellington

Wendie L. Kellington is President of the Kellington Law Group in Lake Oswego, Oregon, where she represents clients to obtain regulatory entitlements, as well as monitors regulatory and legislative developments. She has written chapters in the Oregon State Bar Land Use Desk Book and served as a contributing author/author on various national publications, including West’s Zoning and Planning Law Report and Environmental Issues as well as “Partial Takings” in the treatise Nichols on Eminent Domain (Matthew Bender and Co.). The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of paralegal Olivia Simpson in preparing this update.

I. Agricultural Land Uses

A. Aana v. Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., 2014 WL 4956489 (D. Haw. Sept. 30, 2014) (unreported)

THIS CASE TESTS A STATE’S RIGHT TO FARM LAWS. Defendant leased land for purposes of conducting “open air testing of genetically modified crops as a part of Pioneer’s Waimea Research Center.” Plaintiff neighbors brought a nuisance complaint against the lessee and the property owner. Defendants moved to dismiss citing, among other things, Hawaii’s right to farm laws. Plaintiffs claimed the right to farm laws only applied to protect existing agricultural operations in proximity to which residential objectors later move. Plaintiffs claimed the right to farm laws had no applicability when a new agricultural operator moves into an existing community. Plaintiffs cited legislative history to support their view that the state’s right to farm law had been designed to mirror the “coming to the nuisance doctrine.” The court disagreed:

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