Despite fierce arguments that irreparable damage would be done to Jessamine Creek by the development of the Westgate Subdivision, an injunction to delay further construction is still out of reach as of Tuesday afternoon.
However, the fight over the development’s legitimacy continues and may continue for years, according to the litigating lawyers.
The major issue with the Westgate Subdivision, at least for the plaintiff, R.J. Corman, is not as much about whether or not development should occur but if it’s being done correctly. That is what the counsels for R.J. Corman Real Estate, LLC have been arguing for nearly a year, first on the floor of the Nicholasville Planning Commission and then in front of Jessamine County Circuit Judge Hunter Daugherty.
Hank Graddy, co-counsel for R.J. Corman, has been embroiled in a lawsuit with developer Clay Corman over another project — the Lu-Carlton expansion — and his allegations of alleged conflicts of interest among the planning commission and its vote to approve the Westgate plat May 29. Recently, Graddy joined attorney Elizabeth Darby in an effort to halt the development of the Westgate Subdivision by RCCB, LLC — also being developed by Clay Corman, R.J. Corman’s uncle. The goal is to halt Westgate subdivision until the developer comes into compliance with what they contest are the current regulations.
However, both sides have agreed the damage that has already has been done is done.
Last week, Daugherty denied the motion to halt future construction by RCCB, LLC. Graddy fought that decision in the Kentucky Court of Appeals, seeking an emergency injunction before Judge Glenn Acree in Lexington on Monday, but the judge wanted to let the litigation play out in Jessamine County before making a decision.
“It’s kind of too late,” Daugherty said. “What additional harm can be done that cannot be undone? Until I’ve heard the whole case, which I’ve obviously heard some of here today, nobody has given me reasonable evidence to force an injunction.”
The plaintiff wants RCCB, LLC to redesign, stating the developers’ destruction of trees and vegetation in the 100-year flood plain has increased sediment and will increase pollutants in the future to Jessamine Creek.
Attorneys from both sides brought in experts to dispute the damage and effects to the environment caused by the 8-acre property, planned to be a 24-single family housing area.
The plaintiffs’ witnesses also stated damage to water quality and trees was irreparable, but Daugherty was not convinced.
For the defendant, Jason Banks, the engineer who has worked with RCCB, LLC and the planning commission on the Westgate subdivision, stated they have complied with all ordinances set forth and the only damage done to the creek has been within acceptable means for new subdivisions. The defendants also had witnesses stating they did not notice an increase in sediment build-up.
Bobby Gullette, co-counsel representing the planning commission as defendants, told Daugherty he thought the entire argument was moot because the construction on the RCCB, LLC side was done for now. Gullette also said he did not know of any developer or investor who would build houses while the land is tangled up in this much litigation.
Daugherty sided with the defendant in this one aspect of the case and stated that he had to give the planning commission the benefit of the doubt that they voted to approve the Westgate subdivision with the best interest of Nicholasville in mind.