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Central mayor, council caught in spat over upscale development

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CENTRAL - There is a lawsuit against the mayor and four council members over a 150-acre piece of property in Central.

The lawsuit alleges the nearly 700-unit development violates city laws. Three members of the Central community have filed a "Petition for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief."

"If our ordinances allowed it, I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't be talking to you and we wouldn't have filed this petition," a plaintiff, Dave Freneaux, said. "It's quite simple, we don't believe the ordinances allow this."

Two weeks ago, The Central City Council voted to move forward with the Settlement on Shoecreek Development - a large housing and commercial development including apartments, town homes, cottages and single-family homes.

The suit asks for a temporary restraining order until a hearing can be held. The suit also reads the traffic study submitted for the plan was different from the plan approved and that the council approved nearly six times the allowed number of apartments for the area near the intersection of Wax and Sullivan Roads.

"The city planning staff came up with a number of 41, we looked at that and we agreed," said Freneaux. "The council has approved 250 apartments. The project itself is in theory good, but it's in violation of our ordinances."

Tuesday evening at Central's council meeting, Mayor Junior Shelton read a statement about the matter, saying he stands by the council and looks forward to seeing this play out in court.

"This city will vigorously defend any legal challenge to the work of our planning commission and council," said Shelton. "No laws have been broken.  In fact, we look forward to a court seeing the facts of our work and ending this heinous attempt to stall progress in our city."

The situation has escalated into some residents creating a group on Facebook called "Save Central, Recall our Elected Officials."

Read a copy of the petition, here.


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