Circuit court to hear asphalt issue soon

Following a hearing in Pittsboro Tuesday morning regarding a request to institute an injunction against Lehman-Roberts Asphalt Paving Co.’s completion of a new plant at 1305 Munsford Dr. in New Albany, Circuit Court Judge Henry Lackey determined that a final hearing would be heard on the matter within the next month.

Plaintiffs in the case – Allen Maxwell, Robin Bostwick, Eric Frohn and others – are requesting that the Circuit Court overturn a New Albany Board of Aldermen decision to uphold the property’s current zoning status, despite plaintiffs’ belief that the property should be zoned agricultural.  They argue that the property’s zoning status was not changed from agricultural to industrial before Lehman-Roberts purchased the property from Union County resident Booker Farr and, therefore, the asphalt company should not be allowed to build their new plant there.

During the hearing Tuesday, plaintiffs, represented by New Albany Attorney Bill Rutledge, were seeking that Judge Lackey implement a stay, stating that a Lehman-Roberts official was recently quoted by a local newspaper that the plant would open by March 1.  They argued that, should the plant open by that time, it would come before the issue could be decided by the court.

However, Lehman-Roberts brought a surprise witness to the hearing, the company’s employee Allen Parks.  Under oath, Parks testified that the plant would more than likely not be producing asphalt any sooner than four weeks from now.

Due to the testimony from Parks, Lackey ruled that a stay or injunction was not necessary and that a date for a formal hearing should be scheduled within the next two weeks.

Lehman-Roberts and the city of New Albany are expected to submit their briefs containing their arguments regarding the matter by next Tuesday.  After that, the plaintiffs are allowed to submit a brief in response to both parties’ arguments.