City Sued By Complex Developer
ATTORNEY SAYS DENYING ZONING APPLICATION WAS ILLEGAL
Thursday, November 8, 2012
An internal battle in the Noel City Council that resulted in the arrest of the former mayor and city marshal has led to the city being sued.
A lawsuit was filed Oct. 29 byattorney Chuck Brown, of the law firm Warten, Fisher, Lee and Brown in Joplin, in behalf of Garrison Community Development, Garrison Building Company and Billie Mae Newton.
The Garrison companies were to be the developer and builder of a 36-unit apartment complex while Newton is the owner of theHoliday Motel, the location of the proposed development.
The Noel City Council met twice to consider approving the rezoning of the property from Commercial to R-3. The first attempt failed when a motion to rezone the property died due to a lack of a second and the second failed on a 3-2 vote at aspecial Oct. 4 meeting in which one alderman was brought to the meeting in handcu◊s by order of the mayor.
In his petition, Brown states that the city denying the zoning application was illegal.
He states the denial “is a resultof discrimination made illegal under the United States and Missouri Constitution, the Fair Housing Act, and / or the statutes of the State of Missouri.
The suit claims that the city’s actions are “unreasonable, unconstitutional and constitute a denial of due process as guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S.
Constitution and Article 1, Section 10 of the Missouri Constitution. The plainti◊s claim they are damaged by the city denying them use of the property and they are “deprived of economically beneficial or productive use of the Property by the city’s continued maintenance of unreasonable zoning.”
The suit asks the court to determine “the validity of the City’s zoning regulation as applied to the Property, declaring that the decision ofthe city to deny the rezoning of the Property is unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious, illegal, unconstitutional and constitutes a denial of due process...declaring the zoning change should be approved and ordered to multi-family residential and for such other and further relief that the Court deems just and proper in the premises.”
The plaintiffs are also asking for “just and reasonable compensation; that the Court awards the Plaintiffsits attorneys’ fees and court costs.
Not only has the proposed development led to civil litigation, former Mayor James Carroll and City Marshal Charles Thacker were arrested and charged with felonious restraint in connection with the handcu◊ng of Alderman Nancy Zeorlin in order to force her to attend the Oct. 4 special meeting. The charge against Thacker was later dropped by McDonald County Prosecuting Attorney Jonathan Pierce at the request of Zeorlin.
Carroll, who said he was trying to avoid a lawsuit in his attempt to get the rezoning passed, resigned along with Thacker, aldermen Diana McMahan and Lonnie Huckabey, and Deputy Cody Sutherland.
The suit was filed in McDonald County Circuit Court. Judge Timothy W. Perigo has not scheduled any actions as yet.
News, Pages 1 on 11/08/2012