Appellants, the Farias, operated a dairy farm inCochiseCounty on which they built feeding pens in 2006 on land zoned RU-4 (Rural District). The County claimed that the feeding pens constituted an unauthorized commercial feed lot, in violation of the zoning rules. After the Farias lost several administrative proceedings (all while continuing to operate the feeding operations), the County invoked its zoning power under A.R.S. § 11-821(B) and sued for an injunction. The Farias counterclaimed for declaratory relief. The Superior Court granted summary judgment in favor of the County and enjoined the Farias from using the pens constructed in 2006. The Farias appealed.
The Court of Appeals affirmed the Superior Court’s decision. The Farias claimed that the feeding pens were “general agricultural” uses and thus exempt from county zoning ordinances under A.R.S. § 11-830(A)(2). Applying traditional standards of statutory construction, the Appeals Court noted that the exemption in § 11-830(A)(2) must be considered in pari materia with the provisions of § 11-821.01(A) specifically requiring counties to designate areas for, among other things, “commercial feed lots.” Reasoning that the legislature, by virtue of enacting specific provisions for feed lots, could not have intended to include such lots under the category of “general agricultural purposes,” the Court of Appeals held that the County had the power to regulate the feeding pens under § 11-830(A)(2).
Judge Howard authored the opinion in which Chief Judge Pelander and Judge Espinosa concurred.