Friday, August 10, 2018

Chancery Court Finds Owen Trust Case against Germantown Premature

Here I discussed Planning Commission Decides to Return Cordova Triangle to Residential Zoning . On August 3, the Commerical Appeal reported-- Germantown Sued Over Proposed Rezoning of Cordova Triangle 

And now, just yesterday, the Court has ruled in favor of Germantown:  

The Court dismissed the lawsuit, which had been filed by the Owen Trust, because it was premature. The lawsuit was aimed at overturning a decision by the Planning Commission, rather than an action taken by the BMA. When the lawsuit was filed, I was surprised it had been filed before the BMA had approved the removal of the T4 overlay on the Triangle. If, as expected, the BMA votes to remove the T4 overlay, the Owen Trust likely will refile its lawsuit. 

The petition is short and I recommend that you read (or at least skim) it if you are interested in this subject.  

In its August 3 article, the CA highlights two specific parts of the Owen Trust's petition-- namely, paragraphs 13 and 20-21.  

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As can be seen, Paragraph 13 alleges that the Planning Commission made a political decision motivated by the effect that removing the T4 zoning overlay would have on the results of the upcoming November municipal election. Again, this is the plaintiff's allegation, not my assertion. It is worth noting, however, that, as I pointed out in my July 14 post, the Planning Commission's decision can be reversed after the election. Indeed, the Commissioners themselves made this clear at their July 10 meeting. If the Owen Trust's allegation in Paragraph 13 is correct, the T4 overlay removal could be, depending on the results of the election, much ado about nothing. 

Paragraph's 20 and 21 allege that the Planning Commission's removal of the T4 overlay violated a city ordinance because it was not supported by a sketch plan.
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I am advised that the plaintiff's lawsuit may be deficient on the grounds that the Planning Commission's action did not constitute a zoning change covered by the ordinance. The zoning for the Triangle has always been residential, and it would continue to be regardless of whether the T4 overlay is removed. Whether the mere removal of the T4 overlay can be successfully challenged by the Owen Trust is a legal issue that would have to be addressed by a court in the event  the lawsuit is refiled.

1 comment:

  1. If I'm not mistaking, the sketch of the area, or in this case the Cordova triangle, refers to any developer submitting plans 4 the development an area.