Archive for Thursday, January 18, 2001

Lawsuit filed to stop quarry annexation

January 18, 2001

As promised, neighbors of Hunt Midwest Mining Inc.'s Sunflower Quarry have gone to court to challenge the annexation of that quarry into DeSoto.

Attorneys for the Sunflower Neighborhood Group filed a lawsuit in Johnson County District Court last week that seeks to overturn the city's December annexation of the quarry. The city and Hunt Midwest were named as defendants.

In an attempt to avoid litigation, Sunflower Neighborhood Group lawyers sent a letter to the city last month offering to forego a lawsuit if the city would refer the annexation to the DeSoto Planning Commission and make several changes in the quarry's regulations.

Penny Seavertson said the city's response to the request left the Sunflower Neighborhood Group with no options.

"They basically ignored our request," Seavertson said. "So we went ahead and filed the lawsuit."

DeSoto City Attorney Patrick Reavey said although the lawsuit contains additional comments, it is basically the same as the draft petition the Sunflower Neighborhood Group presented to the city council when the annexation was debated.

It contends the city violated the neighbors' due process rights when it annexed the quarry through an annexation agreement rather than through a special-use permit approved by the DeSoto Planning Commission.

During discussions concerning the annexation at city council meetings, Reavey said state statute to enter into annexation agreements with property owners that waive existing city regulations and was confident the quarry annexation would survive a court challenge.

As part of the annexation agreement, Hunt Midwest agreed to indemnify the city for any expenses in incurred while defending the annexation. Reavey said Hunt Midwest lawyers could take the lead on the lawsuit or compensate the city for Reavey's time.

"I'll take it to the council at the next (Thursdsay's) meeting about how they want to proceed," he said.

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