In a victory for property rights with nationwide implications, the Wyoming Supreme Court has ruled that county regulators cannot restrict people’s conduct based on nonbinding guidance documents. The court’s decision is a setback for public officials accustomed to using administrative regulations to impose their will.
The case, Asphalt Specialties Co., Inc. v. Laramie County Planning Commission, involves ASCI’s efforts to develop a gravel quarry on land it owns in southwestern Laramie County. In 2018, the Laramie County Planning Commission utilized its comprehensive land-use vision plan – a mere guidance document – and its site plan review process to block ASCI’s proposed mining operation on the company’s 550-acre property, commonly referred to as Lone Tree Creek.
Colorado-based ASCI appealed the decision, and the case wound up before the Wyoming Supreme Court. Representing the company was the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), a legal group dedicated to rolling back the abuses of the regulatory administrative state. The selection of NCLA turned out to be a smart move on the company’s part.