Development of the disputed Westgate subdivision moves forward while the battle over its legitimacy rages on in Jessamine Circuit Court, but the council for the developer believes they struck a crushing blow to the opposition this week.
“Their defect is fatal,” said attorney Bobby Gullette, co-counsel for the developer, RCCB, LLC. “We’ve got them on the run, and hopefully we can keep them that way.”
Gullette is co-counsel because he represents the Nicholasville Planning Commission, which was made party to the lawsuit filed by R.J. Corman Real Estate, LLC to stop the developer from completing Westgate.
Gullette believes that the plaintiff’s counsel made an egregious error when filing their complaint against the subdivision in July by not including all of the affected landowners.
The development of Westgate has been contested at multiple public meetings for the past several months and eventually went into litigation after planning commissioners approved the Westgate Unit 1-A mini-plat on May 29, a decision of which the lawsuit also seeks appeal.
The planned development off Wilmore Road is a plat for 24 single-family housing units, phase one of a three-part development. The land sits across from R.J. Corman’s property, along Jessamine Creek.
R.J. Corman’s lawyers filed an injunction in mid-July to halt construction during litigation because they claimed it would cause irreparable harm to Jessamine Creek and to adjacent downstream properties.
RCCB, LLC — owned by R.J.’s uncle, Clay Corman — voluntarily agreed to halt construction for a time, but after July 26, the development started up again.
When both parties met in court in July, they agreed to allow their engineers time to reach a settlement.
Both parties met again this past Monday and no agreement had been made, but new evidence had surfaced.
Counsel for RCCB, LLC met with Judge Hunter Daugherty and introduced people they called “indispensable parties” — Robert D. and Stephanie A. Routt.
The defense argued that R.J. Corman’s lawsuit has no merit by demanding an injunctive relief that would affect property that is not owned by RCCB, LLC but is between Jessamine Creek and the planned Westgate subdivision and owned by the Routts.
On Tuesday, Gullette filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claim outright.
“The motion to dismiss is meritless and is being pursued simply to delay the full hearing on our motion for an injunction,” said Elizabeth Darby, co-counsel for the plaintiff. “We are confident in the merits of our lawsuit. This is the Nicholasville Planning Commission’s second motion to dismiss filed by Bobby Gullette, and we expect him to have just as much success with this motion as he had with his prior motion.
“The Routts are not indispensable parties, and the complaint and appeal will continue.”
Judge Hunter Daugherty disagreed, stating in his ruling that “the Routts are indispensable” and that R.J. Corman’s lawsuit must include them along with RCCB, LLC and the planning commission.
Daugherty also denied a motion by attorneys for R.J. Corman for a stay of construction, stating it was unfair for the developer to hold off on construction any longer.
Hank Graddy, co-counsel for R.J. Corman, said he would serve the Routts immediately and have them summoned into court.
Gullette told the judge he was not even sure if the Routts knew anything about the lawsuit or the impending actions. Daugherty acknowledged that and said he would give the Routts ample time to seek counsel if they so wished.
Another hearing was scheduled for Monday, Aug. 27, at 1 p.m., when Daugherty will hear the motion and counter. The hearing may continue through Tuesday, if necessary.