Farr files motion against injunction

Attorney A. Rhett Wise, representing Riverside Traffic Systems, Inc., of 1283 HWY 178 West in New Albany, filed a motion to intervene into the injunction against the construction of an asphalt plant on Munsford Dr.

The owner of Riverside Traffic Systems, Inc. is Booker Farr, who also owns the 29-acre piece of property located at 1305 Munsford Drive that has been optioned for purchase by Lehman-Roberts Asphalt of Memphis, Tenn.

According to the motion filed at the Union County Chancery Court, Farrs attorney claims that his client has a legal right to be involved in a petition for declaratory relief, temporary restraining order, and/or preliminary injunction against Lehman-Roberts Asphalt Co. of Memphis, Tenn., the city of New Albany and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

Attorney William Rutledge filed the petition on Nov. 28, 2007, representing Allen Maxwell and other New Albany residents.

In the motion to intervene, the following reasons for Farrs claim are cited:

(1) That Riverside Traffic Systems, Inc. is the owner of the property, which is the subject of the declaratory action.

(2) That Riverside Traffic Systems, Inc. had previously entered into a contract for the sale of the real property.

(3) In order to quiet and confirm title and to remove cloud against the plaintiff [Riverside Traffic Systems, Inc.].

(4) The matter may impair or impede Riverside Traffic Systems ability to protect its ownership interest in the subject property.

(5) A request to intervene will not unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the rights of the original parties.

The original parties in the case, Allen Maxwell and his fellow plaintiffs, filed the original petition, arguing that no adequate evidence can be found in the New Albany Board of Aldermen meeting minutes that the propertys zoning status was never changed from agricultural to industrial, dating back to the time when the property was annexed into the city.

According to the city’s zoning ordinances, an amendment to the zoning status of a certain property must first be approved by the city’s planning and zoning commission. From that point, the recommendation of the change in zoning is taken to the mayor and board of aldermen, who then set a public hearing. A notice of the hearing must be published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the city at least 15 days prior to such a hearing and that signs must be posted on the property in question for at least 15 days prior to the hearing. At the hearing, the mayor and board will then listen to any objections to the zoning change and then vote on the matter.

The city, however, argues that the propertys listing on its official zoning map as industrial supercedes any lack of evidence in the board of aldermens meeting minutes and that, according to state law, is sufficient evidence in the matter.

As of press time, a chancery court judge had not ruled on the motion to intervene in the matter.