Vincent, White Rock win Supreme Court case

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

VINCENT – The Alabama Supreme Court ruled in favor of the City of Vincent, the Vincent Planning Commission and White Rock Quarries, LLC in a lawsuit filed by Vincent property owner Anne Bates Gibbons.

Gibbons originally filed the lawsuit in February 2010 after the Vincent City Council approved White Rock’s request to rezone 886 acres of land.

“The lawsuit was against the town when it zoned for White Rock. I think it’s probably even more of a victory for the town of Vincent,” said attorney Rob Fowler, who represented White Rock.

“There were several challenges to Vincent’s original zoning ordinance. In all counts, the town of Vincent did what they were supposed to,” Fowler added. “All the notice issues were proper, and gave the public ample opportunity to comment. They also upheld the specific zoning of White Rock’s property.”

The case went before Shelby County Circuit Judge Hub Harrington, who ruled in favor of the town and quarry. Gibbons appealed the ruling to the Alabama Supreme Court in February.

The lawsuit also challenged the town’s annexation of about 80 acres for the quarry.

“(Gibbons) challenged if that was done was properly, and the judge ruled that it was,” Fowler said. “That was one of the bigger hurdles.”

Fowler said the Supreme Court agreed with Harrington’s ruling and found no substance in Gibbons’ claims.

Fowler said White Rock’s next step is to file environmental permits.

“The reason this decision happened and came down the way it did was because of the diligence and the care that the officials in the town of Vincent and Shelby County put into this matter,” Fowler said. “They wanted to make sure everything was done correctly, fairly and thoroughly and did exactly that.”

Vincent Mayor Ray McAllister said he was pleased with the results.

“The only thing we have coming up is once it’s all finalized, then we expect White Rock to move forward,” McAllister said. “That’s the bottom line.”

Gibbons declined to comment, and messages left with her attorney, Trip Galloway, were not returned immediately.