Rowanoak sues City for damages

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Developer takes case to Federal Court

Juanice Gray | Editor

Motel 6

The ink wasn’t even dry, or really even put to paper, before lawyers for Rowanoak Development filed suit in federal court. Judge Lala Sylvester rendered judgement Oct. 7 in favor of the City’s decision to deny approval of the Glendale Subdivision plat one day after Reid A. Jones, attorney, filed suit on behalf of Rowanoak in Alexandria. It is not an appeal, but a separate suit seeking damages for condemnation and denial of due process based on the City’s refusal to grant approval.

This article published in the Oct. 16, 2021, print edition

In District Court, Jones filed a Writ of Mandamus to compel the City to approve the application. In the federal suit, Rowanoak is suing the City of Natchitoches for inverse condemnation, or condemning his property for development; Substantive due process, citing the Council exceeded its authority of its decision making process and violated Rowanoak’s right to due process; and Procedural due process; stating the procedure for approving the preliminary plat was not properly followed in this case.

Under Count 1, condemnation, the suit states, “The City’s rejection was based on their bowing to the desire of the neighboring public, as urged by the neighboring landowners, without payment to Rowanoak Development of adequate compensation.”

Judge Sylvester ruled in District Court the public had a right to object, in the form of a petition with over 1,100 signatures, that was considered as part of the City Council’s legal discretion when making their decision. Rowanoak is seeking monetary compensation for the loss of value of the property, lost profits and the cost of all plans, drainage, engineering studies and legal fees.

Under Count 2, substantive due process, the federal suit stated the City’s reasons for denying the Glendale Development were “arbitrary and capricious and an unreasonable exercise of their police power” and they seek all monetary compensation as listed above.

Under Count 3, due process, the suit states, “Rowanoak Development has been denied a fair hearing by an unbiased and impartial public body.” The federal case requests damages including attorneys’ fees, costs, interest on all amounts awarded at the maximum allowable rate and all other necessary and appropriate relief warranted.

Judge David C. Joseph will preside over the case with Judge Joseph H L Perez-Montes as magistrate. The plaintiff will be represented by lead attorney Jones, John M. Madison and Geoffrey D. Westmoreland, all with the firm of Wiener Weiss & Madison APC, Shreveport.

A summons was issued to the City of Natchitoches Oct. 7.

To proceed, Rowanoak must file a corporate disclosure statement by Oct 21.