By Erica Solvig
Enquirer Staff Writer
LEBANON - A developer whose planned subdivision in booming Hamilton Township was blocked has filed a legal challenge to Warren County's effort to slow growth.
In a complaint filed Wednesday in Warren County Common Pleas Court, Hamilton-based PBM Development, William and Sylvia Stotler and the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati seek to overturn Warren's Regional Planning Commission denial. They also want to make County Commissioner Mike Kilburn pay for his "tongue lashing," which they argue pushed other planning commission members into denying their plans. Their suit also says their constitutional rights were violated.
The appeal and lawsuit names the planning commission and Kilburn, both as a commission member and an individual, and the plaintiffs seek at least $25,000 from each defendant.
"My clients complied, in all respects, with the subdivision regulations and were disapproved only by the extraordinarily negative efforts by Mr. Kilburn, who by his own admission hasn't been to a (planning) commission meeting in several years," attorney Joe Trauth said. "He came in specifically to turn down this preliminary subdivision plat, relying on no reasons within the subdivision regulations."
The Regional Planning Commission last month denied two plans, known as the Stotler properties, that would have totaled 570 homes for Hamilton Township and the Little Miami School District - two areas where county leaders think growth must be better managed. Commission members said at that meeting that the design did not fit the area's rural character and expressed concerns over not having a traffic study.
Developers can appeal such decisions to the courts, but this case goes beyond a simple appeal.
The plaintiffs argue that Kilburn "acted outside the scope of his authority and for personal gain, benefit or motive." They also contend "Kilburn vocally and publicly cajoled, browbeat and sharply criticized other members of the RPC who dared to voice any opposition to his viewpoint."
The commission's executive director, Bob Craig, Wednesday declined to comment since he had not read the suit.
"It's no secret that we feel - the commissioners feel and me personally - feel that the growth in this township especially within the Little Miami School District, is way out of balance," Kilburn said Wednesday. "As elected officials, we try to do what's in the best interest of our county."
Bronson: Yates here, there and everywhere
Barbershop gets a touch of blues
TOP LOCAL HEADLINES
Victims upset at Bush's praise of ex-con
Bush's Talbert House remarks
Bill would help ex-inmates' return
Marine Reservists receive a second set of goodbyes
Cincinnati leads nation in population decline
'Growth' and 'Mason' virtually synonymous
Priest pleads in abuse
Growing LDS churches stress high involvement
Jury finds 14-year-old guilty
Complaints pile up against Fox, latest alleges illegal committee
Arbitrator trumped; firing might stand
Pair admit selling stolen goods on eBay
Public safety digest
Local news briefs
Peoples Bankers led lives of luxury
Drowning victim found
Senate candidates split hairs over funds
Turkeyfoot Road project appears on solid footing
Police arrest suspects in drug roundup in Shelby County
Fletcher changing titles of political appointees
School transfers may multiply
Cincinnati school board struggles with projections
TV forums held on levy requests
Would-be Warren builder sues over no-growth block
Old Chilo lock gets new life
Two suburbs consider more taxes or cutbacks
Lebanon tax increase may be on November ballot
Subdivision pool back in business
Symmes trustees erupt in anger over park levy
Fire master plan consultant sought
Robert 'Sonny' Hill Jr. doted on Middletown
Lillian Smiley, 75, 'meant the world' to her neighbors