Indiana upholds nursing home moratorium, shelving 9 Mainstreet projects

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A moratorium on new nursing home licenses approved by Indiana's legislature in 2015 was upheld by the state's Court of Appeals Tuesday, blocking Mainstreet Property Group from moving forward with nine projects.

The moratorium runs from March 1, 2015, to June 30, 2019.

The Legislature's goal was to stop building projects until existing nursing homes improved their occupancy rates. Plans under development prior to that March could move forward if they'd met zoning requirements, obtained financing and entered active construction.

Mainstreet hadn't applied for licenses by the deadline but was in the process of buying and developing nine parcels across the state.

In 2016, the company filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief against the Department of Health and other entities, which was dismissed by the trial court, according to Indiana Lawyer.

The appellate court held on a hearing in February and upheld the lower court's ruling Tuesday.

The panel said Mainstreet failed to establish that it “lost any earnest money” and that its complaint was “vague about the contractual obligations allegedly impaired by the Moratorium.”

Judge Terry Crone's written decision rejected Mainstreet's claims that it had spent millions of dollars developing the proposed properties. The company's “evidence regarding the expenditure of money, time, and effort could be characterized as normal business efforts expended to investigate future business opportunities,” he wrote.