Developer Threatening to Sue Columbia for Millions

1 year ago April 18, 2014 Apr 18, 2014 Friday, April 18 2014 Friday, April 18, 2014 1:07:42 PM CDT in News
By: William Joy, KOMU 8 News Reporter

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
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Republican-led Missouri Senate for the first time in years debated a bill to repeal the... More >>
48 minutes ago February 08, 2016 Feb 8, 2016 Monday, February 08 2016 Monday, February 08, 2016 8:37:24 PM CST in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Emerging Issues Committee heard a bill on Monday that would establish statewide regulations for "transportation network... More >>
5 hours ago February 08, 2016 Feb 8, 2016 Monday, February 08 2016 Monday, February 08, 2016 4:07:03 PM CST in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - In light of International Epilepsy Day, MU Healthcare announced the expanded Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) at Women's and... More >>
1 hour ago February 08, 2016 Feb 8, 2016 Monday, February 08 2016 Monday, February 08, 2016 7:48:31 PM CST in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - Eighth graders at the Columbia Independent School (CIS) on North Stadium Boulevard have been studying weather related data... More >>
1 hour ago February 08, 2016 Feb 8, 2016 Monday, February 08 2016 Monday, February 08, 2016 7:46:17 PM CST in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - The MU Asian American Association celebrated the Chinese New Year on campus Monday. According to the lunisolar Chinese... More >>
1 hour ago February 08, 2016 Feb 8, 2016 Monday, February 08 2016 Monday, February 08, 2016 7:30:17 PM CST in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY – Disaster survivors will receive $29.2 million grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Individuals and Households Program.... More >>
3 hours ago February 08, 2016 Feb 8, 2016 Monday, February 08 2016 Monday, February 08, 2016 5:52:09 PM CST in Continuous News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis utility company is pushing back on the federal government's plan to cut carbon... More >>
4 hours ago February 08, 2016 Feb 8, 2016 Monday, February 08 2016 Monday, February 08, 2016 5:18:19 PM CST in Continuous News
CALLAWAY COUNTY – 21-year-old Harley Walls was arrested in St. Peters when he was located in possession of one vehicle... More >>
4 hours ago February 08, 2016 Feb 8, 2016 Monday, February 08 2016 Monday, February 08, 2016 4:53:32 PM CST in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - Two proposals aimed at requiring Missourians to show photo ID before voting are heading to the... More >>
5 hours ago February 08, 2016 Feb 8, 2016 Monday, February 08 2016 Monday, February 08, 2016 4:22:37 PM CST in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - The State Historical Society of Missouri (SHSM) held its first time event last Monday to address Thomas Hart... More >>
1 week ago January 29, 2016 Jan 29, 2016 Friday, January 29 2016 Friday, January 29, 2016 7:20:03 PM CST in Continuous News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A man convicted of a 1994 homicide in St. Louis is planning to appeal his case... More >>
5 hours ago February 08, 2016 Feb 8, 2016 Monday, February 08 2016 Monday, February 08, 2016 3:59:58 PM CST in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY - A proposed bill in the Missouri House would require all schools supported by public funds to recite... More >>
5 hours ago February 08, 2016 Feb 8, 2016 Monday, February 08 2016 Monday, February 08, 2016 3:47:04 PM CST in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - The downtown community improvement district (CID) is ready to start the first phase of The Gateways project. ... More >>
5 hours ago February 08, 2016 Feb 8, 2016 Monday, February 08 2016 Monday, February 08, 2016 3:32:43 PM CST in Continuous News
FERGUSON (AP) — New estimates show Ferguson's cost of implementing reforms spelled out in a consent agreement with the U.S.... More >>
5 hours ago February 08, 2016 Feb 8, 2016 Monday, February 08 2016 Monday, February 08, 2016 3:27:45 PM CST in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - In a letter to faculty and staff on Monday, MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley said Daniel Clay, dean... More >>
6 hours ago February 08, 2016 Feb 8, 2016 Monday, February 08 2016 Monday, February 08, 2016 3:23:30 PM CST in Continuous News
JEFFERS ON CITY (AP) — A Missouri lawmaker is pushing for a program that would track prescription drugs and let... More >>
6 hours ago February 08, 2016 Feb 8, 2016 Monday, February 08 2016 Monday, February 08, 2016 3:12:32 PM CST in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY – Morgan Keegan will pay $850,000 for Mamtek securities fraud. Secretary of State Jason Kander announced on... More >>
6 hours ago February 08, 2016 Feb 8, 2016 Monday, February 08 2016 Monday, February 08, 2016 2:55:09 PM CST in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department announced Monday they identified a body found near the Highway 63 and I-70 interchange... More >>
7 hours ago February 08, 2016 Feb 8, 2016 Monday, February 08 2016 Monday, February 08, 2016 1:29:00 PM CST in Continuous News
Interactive Radar Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 23°
10pm 23°
11pm 23°
12am 24°
1am 22°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

8:00 pm
The Biggest Loser
10:00 pm
KOMU 8 News @ 10
10:35 pm
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
9:00 pm
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30 pm
Seinfeld
10:00 pm
Cougar Town

Tonight's Schedule

7:00 pm
Superstore
7:30 pm
Telenovela
8:00 pm
The Biggest Loser
7:00 pm
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
8:00 pm
Jane the Virgin
9:00 pm
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30 pm
Seinfeld