By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – A lawsuit filed against the City of Yukon over the city council’s denial of a property rezoning request has been transferred to another Canadian County judge.
District Judge Paul Hesse will hear the case filed by Williams Family Investments challenging the Yukon City Council’s July 20 vote against an application to rezone a 57.25-acre property on the north side of SH-66 east of Cimarron Road.
Attorneys for Williams Family Investments filed the civil suit Aug. 11 in Canadian County District Court against the City of Yukon and the city council. The case was automatically assigned to District Judge Jack D. McCurdy.
“Plaintiff seeks rezoning of the property consistent with the City of Yukon’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan from agricultural to heavy industrial,” according to court documents.
“The city council’s decision to deny the appeal/application was arbitrary, unreasonable and capricious (and) bears no reasonable relation to the public health, safety, morals or general welfare.”
Several neighboring property owners – including Judge McCurdy – appeared at the July 20th city council meeting to protest Williams Family Investments’ rezoning appeal.
McCurdy, who lives on the south side of SH-66 across from the subject property, told members the applicant wanted the zoning change to allow a dirt-mining operation.
McCurdy warned about dust-filled nuisances, traffic hazards and road damage this would cause.
McCurdy even predicted the SH-66 site would ultimately become an “oilfield junkyard” once the dirt mining ended and the property was sold or leased “to the highest bidder.”
The council subsequently voted 5-0 not to change the zoning.
Plaintiff’s attorney Armando Rosell on Aug. 20 asked Judge McCurdy to recuse himself. McCurdy agreed.
Judge Hesse granted the plaintiff’s motion to transfer the case Sept. 15.
Judge McCurdy “is a fact witness to the subject matter of this lawsuit and has an interest in the outcome,” according to an agreed order signed by Hesse.
The order was approved by attorneys for both Williams Family Investments and the City of Yukon.
HEARING NOV. 11
A hearing on the City of Yukon’s motion to dismiss the suit is set Nov. 12 before Judge Hesse.
Yukon city attorney Roger Rinehart on Sept. 22 filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s petition “for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”
In his motion, Rinehart noted the plaintiff does not seek a declaratory judgment “to determine the validity of a statute, municipal ordinance or other governmental regulation.”
The petition contains no allegation of damage (monetary or otherwise) by Williams Family Investments, he added.
“Plaintiff’s requested relief seeks only to prevent the City of Yukon from enforcing a valid zoning regulation, which was properly adopted and properly enforced by City of Yukon for decades,” the court document reads.
“Plaintiff’s dissatisfaction with denial of its application to rezone property from agricultural to industrial is evident from the petition. However, there is no injury asserted, no cognizable legal theory asserted, and no legal remedy asserted by plaintiff’s petition.”
Meanwhile, the City of Yukon agreed to withdraw its previous motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s suit “for lack of proper service.”