There was no court ruling that came out of today’s hearing on ANA’s case for a motion of summary judgment on the Lincoln site plan. After about 1 1/2 hours of the two sides arguing their case, Judge Margaret Cooper said she would take it under advisement and issue a ruling within the next 2 to 3 weeks. There is speculation that it could come sooner given RG4N’s trial date is set for November 13th.
Allandale is asking the judge to rule on whether the city did or did not follow it’s own laws in approving Lincoln’s site plan. The first hurdle was for Allandale to establish it had standing, that the development would impact residents more so than the public at large. Given that Northcross is in the neighborhood you’d think that point would be a no-brainer. Not so. It turns out half of the hearing was spent on establishing standing. Our arguments prevailed. The judge acknowledged our standing in the matter and we proceeded on with the motion for summary judgment.
Lincoln and the City’s attorney argued Allandale’s concern was over a small piece of the overall project, their plans call for a accessory retail center not a garden center, and that Allandlale shouldn’t be concerned about the approval process for a garden center at this point because it’s not even part of their site plan. If Wal-Mart does add a garden center later that’s the time for Allandale to require proper procedures. In addition they argued the city had the right to approve the site plan administratively without going through a public review process because it’s consistent with past practices and doing otherwise misses the intent.
Maura Phelan, the litigator for Allandale, provided an excellent wrap up by pointing out the original notification listed a "garden center" as part of the development and given that a garden center is classified by the city as conditional use, the site plan should have gone to the Land Use Commission for review and approval as is required for a conditional use.
Thanks to everybody that took the afternoon off to join us at the courthouse. We had about 15 to 20 Allandale residents and RG4N supporters at the trial. Our legal team of Bruce Bigelow, Maura Phelan, Joe Centrich and Gloria Rodriguez did a very good putting together and arguing what we believe is a solid case. Developers should not be able to insert 200,000 sq ft super retail center in a neighborhood without the neighborhood’s input. We will post the ruling once it is communicated.
Tom Linehan [Email address: tlinehan #AT# austin.rr.com - replace #AT# with @ ]