Vincent property owner files lawsuit over White Rock

Published 5:39 pm Friday, February 26, 2010

A Vincent property owner has filed a lawsuit against the town, alleging the town is ignoring part of its zoning code as it considers White Rock Quarries’ rezoning application.

Anne Bates Gibbons filed the lawsuit in circuit court Feb. 26.

Trip Galloway, Gibbons’ attorney, said in a press release when Vincent changed its zoning code in September 2009, town officials did not include a zoning status that specifically allows a quarry. Instead, the town adopted a new Section 5.5, which deals with proposed uses not already covered under accepted zoning classifications.

“We submit that it is undisputed that White Rock’s proposed uses are not allowed under the Vincent zoning code, and therefore should be processed under Section 5.5,” Galloway said.

Galloway said if the application were to be considered under Section 5.5, the application would have a more detailed process to go through. The Vincent Planning Commission would first need to determine the most compatible zoning classification for a quarry, then decide if White Rock’s land should be rezoned to that classification.

Lastly, the commission would have to decide if the quarry could be allowed within the new zoning district.

White Rock’s application is currently being considered under another section of the zoning code.

“This lawsuit raises procedural issues,” Galloway said. “Everyone involved in the debate over whether quarries belong in Vincent should want the applicable rules to be followed.”

White Rock spokesperson Stephen Bradley termed the lawsuit a “desperation tactic.”

“If you can’t win by distorting and misrepresenting facts, as our opponents have tried to do, then you resort to desperation tactics, which is what this lady’s efforts appear to be,” Bradley said. “We don’t know if there are problems with the ordinance. That is a matter for the city to decide, but if there is a problem, I am confident the city will do whatever is necessary to resolve it.”

Vincent Mayor Ray McAllister said he had not yet seen the lawsuit when reached late Feb. 26.

“That’s interesting,” he said. “We haven’t seen anything at this point.”

Vincent town attorney Corey Moore reiterated McAllister’s comments.

“The council and the zoning commission try very hard to follow the correct procedures. I don’t know if there was an error made or not. If there was an error made, they will correct it,” Moore said. “I haven’t seen the lawsuit or what they said the error was.”

In late October, White Rock filed an application to have 886 acres of land rezoned from rural agricultural to a special district zoning status.