Developer Threatening to Sue Columbia for Millions

2 years 9 months 3 days 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
Embed Code Copied

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 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a new set of regulations on Wednesday that clarifies standards for living... More >>
7 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 6:49:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia/Boone County Health and Human Services Department tracked a decrease in mumps cases reports when MU students... More >>
7 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 6:42:00 PM CST in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A southwest Missouri woman was sentenced to two years in prison without parole for selling more than... More >>
7 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 6:39:07 PM CST in News
KANSAS CITY ( AP) — Missouri Democrats are asking Gov. Eric Greitens to support their efforts to force the new... More >>
7 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 6:23:56 PM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police say a man was fatally shot just west of Hickey Park. According... More >>
7 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 6:11:00 PM CST in News
BOONE COUNTY - The Missouri Highway Patrol has identified the person at the center of a death investigation north of... More >>
8 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 5:15:35 PM CST in Top Stories
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police say a 79-year-old man fatally shot the assistant manager of an apartment for... More >>
9 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 4:53:42 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department responded to a shots fired incident near Quail Drive Thursday afternoon. According to... More >>
9 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 4:25:00 PM CST in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit challenging Missouri regulations limiting how alcohol producers and... More >>
10 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 3:50:31 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A Missouri senator says the state shouldn't be investing in Russia, and she has filed a... More >>
10 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 3:44:00 PM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The man who was the face of Ferguson, Missouri, in the turmoil that followed the 2014... More >>
11 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 2:47:32 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - New research from the University of Missouri School of Social work called for more attention to advanced directives,... More >>
11 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 2:40:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A bill prohibiting mandatory union fees in workplaces is moving to the Missouri Senate after winning... More >>
11 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 2:36:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Airport, trucking and business officials all are urging Missouri lawmakers to change state driver's license laws... More >>
11 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 2:24:06 PM CST in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Kansas City-area investigators are searching for a missing college student from Wichita who hasn't been seen... More >>
11 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 2:15:54 PM CST in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — The city of Ferguson, Missouri, is appealing a federal jury's $3 million award to the family... More >>
11 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 2:08:00 PM CST in News
MOUNT VERNON (AP) — A southwest Missouri fa rmer who was charged in a fork loader assault has pleaded guilty... More >>
12 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 2:00:50 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - A new report released by the Missouri Women's Foundation Thursday shows a need for policy changes to improve... More >>
13 hours ago January 19, 2017 Jan 19, 2017 Thursday, January 19 2017 Thursday, January 19, 2017 12:28:00 PM CST in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 46°
2am 44°
3am 44°
4am 44°
5am 44°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

1:37a
Paid Program
2:07a
Today
3:00a
Mad Money
1:30a
Seinfeld
2:00a
Paid Program
2:30a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Grimm
8:00p
Emerald City
9:00p
Dateline NBC
7:00p
The Vampire Diaries
8:00p
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld