Developer Threatening to Sue Columbia for Millions

2 years 10 months 1 week ago April 18, 2014 Apr 18, 2014 Friday, April 18 2014 Friday, April 18, 2014 1:07:00 PM CDT in News
By: William Joy, KOMU 8 News Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia could face a lawsuit worth millions of dollars if it allows a petition blocking downtown development to continue.

On March 31, the Columbia City Council voted in favor of an agreement for Opus Development Group to build a new housing project on the north side of Locust Street, between 7th and 8th streets.

After a group called Repeal 6214 submitted a petition with 3,633 signatures which is more than enough to force the city to review it. Columbia has to decide whether to support the petition and face the lawsuit or rule it as invalid.

The law firm, Van Matre, Harrison, Hollis, and Taylor submitted a letter to the city on April 15 saying, "If the city fails to immediately reject the petition and declare it invalid, or if the city allows the petition process under section 129 of the charter to inappropriately move forward as a conflicting enactment, the city will be in breach of the agreement, resulting in damages to Opus in excess of $5,000,000."

The petitioners responded with a letter as well, pointing out that section 128 of the city's charter says, "The voters shall have power to approve or reject at the polls any ordinance passed by the council, or submitting by the council to the voters, excepting emergency ordinances...ordinances for the levying of taxes, or for the issuance of special tax bills."

The letter from the Van Matre law firm that section applies, "only to acts, including ordinances, which are legislative in character", so the petition should be invalid.

"I think they misunderstand the rights of the citizens of Columbia under the Columbia city charter," Jeremy Root, the leader of the Repeal 6214 movement said. "And I think they misinterpret applicable case law to reach the conclusion that this ordinance is not properly subject to repeal."

McDavid says the petition isn't worth the risk.

"I believe the effort to run Opus out of town is dangerous. I think it's reckless, and I think it's irresponsible," McDavid said. "If we go that road, we're going to be in a multi-year legal swamp from which the outcome is unclear."

Root said his problem is not with the development itself or with downtown development as a whole.

"I'm not opposed to students residing downtown," Root said. "I'm opposed to hasty process that leave too many questions unanswered."

The city now has to decide whether to declare the petition invalid, repeal the development agreement with Opus, or put the repeal of the development agreement on the next ballot and leave it up to voters.

The law firm's letter gives the city till the close of business on April 22 to declare the ordinance invalid or face the suit.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - A local cleaning company is washing its hands of dirty business, but probably not for the last time.... More >>
4 hours ago February 27, 2017 Feb 27, 2017 Monday, February 27 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 7:54:00 PM CST in Target 8
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Missouri judge said the state Corrections Department intentionally delayed fulfilling a Sunshine request for the... More >>
4 hours ago February 27, 2017 Feb 27, 2017 Monday, February 27 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 7:19:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri public defender system says Gov. Eric Greitens' proposal to restore some of its budget... More >>
4 hours ago February 27, 2017 Feb 27, 2017 Monday, February 27 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 7:06:56 PM CST in News
ROLLA - Determination, courage and spunk run in Danny Shelton's blood. But factor IX, a vital clotting protein, does not.... More >>
4 hours ago February 27, 2017 Feb 27, 2017 Monday, February 27 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 7:05:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri State Highway Patrol is searching for more state troopers after experiencing a decrease in applicants.... More >>
4 hours ago February 27, 2017 Feb 27, 2017 Monday, February 27 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 7:05:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A proposed bill will introduce the idea of charter schools in the state of Missouri. Missouri... More >>
5 hours ago February 27, 2017 Feb 27, 2017 Monday, February 27 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 6:06:00 PM CST in News
KINGDOM CITY - The North Callaway R-1 School District decided to move to a four-day school week for the 2017-2018... More >>
7 hours ago February 27, 2017 Feb 27, 2017 Monday, February 27 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 4:39:00 PM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) Three people are facing charges after being arrested at a St. Louis rally in support of LGBTQ... More >>
8 hours ago February 27, 2017 Feb 27, 2017 Monday, February 27 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 3:23:25 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - New nationwide standards for staffing fire departments suggest Columbia needs 95 more firefighters. This number comes from... More >>
9 hours ago February 27, 2017 Feb 27, 2017 Monday, February 27 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 2:51:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Results from the Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes (MOQI), show that advanced practice registered nurses, or APRNs,... More >>
10 hours ago February 27, 2017 Feb 27, 2017 Monday, February 27 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 1:52:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Passengers at Columbia Regional Airport (COU) will soon have more flight options. United Airlines confirmed it will... More >>
10 hours ago February 27, 2017 Feb 27, 2017 Monday, February 27 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 1:01:00 PM CST in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - "Not enough time" is one of the most frequently-used reasons to not exercise. What if I told you... More >>
10 hours ago February 27, 2017 Feb 27, 2017 Monday, February 27 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 12:59:00 PM CST in News
ST. JAMES (AP) — An elderly husband and wife are dead after a head-on crash in central Missouri. The... More >>
14 hours ago February 27, 2017 Feb 27, 2017 Monday, February 27 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 9:46:22 AM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A 32-year-old St. Louis native is a key player in President Donald Trump's White House. ... More >>
14 hours ago February 27, 2017 Feb 27, 2017 Monday, February 27 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 9:43:50 AM CST in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police say one of the victims of a double shooting has died. ... More >>
16 hours ago February 27, 2017 Feb 27, 2017 Monday, February 27 2017 Monday, February 27, 2017 7:07:00 AM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY- Republican lawmakers continue at odds over the Real ID Act . One side of the argument seeks to... More >>
1 day ago February 26, 2017 Feb 26, 2017 Sunday, February 26 2017 Sunday, February 26, 2017 11:30:00 PM CST in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - As President Donald Trump prepares an alternate version of a temporary travel ban on refugees and members of... More >>
1 day ago February 26, 2017 Feb 26, 2017 Sunday, February 26 2017 Sunday, February 26, 2017 6:00:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Planned Parenthood opponents are planning a month of protests after a march that drew between 50 and 100... More >>
1 day ago February 26, 2017 Feb 26, 2017 Sunday, February 26 2017 Sunday, February 26, 2017 5:57:00 PM CST in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 58°
12am 59°
1am 59°
2am 57°
3am 56°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

11:37p
Late Night with Seth Meyers
12:37a
Last Call with Carson Daly
1:07a
The Insider
11:30p
Rules of Engagement
12:00a
Raising Hope
12:30a
Cheaters

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Voice
9:00p
Taken
7:00p
Supergirl
8:00p
Jane the Virgin
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld