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Status report sought in quarry case

Friday, May 10, 2013

A federal judge has ordered both sides involved in a $10 million lawsuit over a proposed rock quarry to update him on the status of the case.

The city of Shelbyville and Wright Paving/Custom Stone LLC have until June 7 to file a status report with U.S. District Judge Harry S. Mattice, according to an order issued Tuesday.

He ordered both parties to identify any related proceedings in state court, and to address whether the federal court should lift the stay in the litigation, meaning that the suit could move forward.

State case over

Mattice wrote in his order that he had stayed action in the case in March of last year pending the outcome of appeal proceedings in state court.

Since that time, the Tennessee Court of Appeals issued an opinion in favor of the Wrights and the city applied to the state Supreme Court to appeal, which was denied.

"It thus appears to the Court that all state proceedings are concluded," Mattice wrote.

Two weeks ago, the city board of zoning appeals (BZA) rejected the Wright's application for conditional use at the 100-acre site on L. Fisher Road for the quarry they have been wanting to construct since 2004.

A state appellate judge had ordered the BZA last November to consider the Wrights' original 2004 application for the quarry "at the earliest possible date," reviewed under the zoning ordinance that existed in February 2004, before changes were made which kept the Wrights from building on the site.

While the planning commission approved the site plan for the quarry, the BZA cited issues such as blasting, noise, vibration, dust, compatibility with the area, public health, safety and welfare and the region not being sparsely developed as reasons to reject it.

Ongoing suit

In 2010, the Wrights asked the BZA to consider their application again under the property's original 2004 zoning, but the BZA refused to put the application on its meeting agenda. A trial court later found that the BZA's action was arbitrary and illegal.

Two months later, the Wrights filed a $10 million federal lawsuit, demanding the city, planning commission, BZA and former planning director Ed Dodson be held liable for violating their civil, due process and equal protection rights.

The Wrights also are demanding damages for the future use of the property for quarrying, including all consequential damages and lost profits.