A special judge heard evidence involving a 10-year dispute over a rock quarry in Chancery Court, but made no rulings Monday.
Senior Judge Ben Cantrell of Nashville conducted the hearing over last April's rejection of a proposed rock quarry by Shelbyville's Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA).
The suit was filed in Chancery Court last June by Wright Paving and Custom Stone LLC against the city and the BZA, asking for a decision rejecting the conditional use of industrial property for the quarry to be reversed.
Attorney Josh McCreary told Cantrell Monday that the BZA's ruling was void and that the body was "not properly constituted" during the hearing. He stated that the planning commission approved the site, then the same people -- meeting as the BZA -- denied it.
McCreary said the Wrights have had a right to quarry there for the past 10 years and want the company's application approved.
The 100 acre site on L. Fisher Road has been a source of controversy and litigation for 10 years. The BZA voted that the site would not meet "performance standards" after a 6-hour meeting last April.
Issues such as blasting, noise, vibration, dust, compatibility with the area, public health, safety and welfare and the region not being sparsely developed were cited as reasons for rejection.
The Wrights have claimed that vote was illegal, arbitrary, capricious and was outside the scope of the BZA for a variety of reasons. They also claim that while they submitted materials to the city on time, multiple outside "experts" were hired by Shelbyville to review the application and permitted to file reports, but the Wrights were not given enough time to respond to any questions raised by those hired by the city.
The suit claims that the city and BZA established "an entirely new protocol" for the application that "virtually guaranteed" the Wrights would have an inadequate opportunity to address the experts' comments.
The city's planning commission and BZA have split into two separate bodies to come in compliance with most other jurisdictions.
The Wrights also claim the BZA unlawfully and improperly relied on the "performance standards," in denying the request and exceeded its authority in reviewing the special exception. They likewise claim that the experts were hired "for the express purpose of denying the application," saying the review process used last April had been "never before utilized."
The Wrights are asking for attorneys' fees and "further relief as the Court deems just and necessary."