BY REBECCA PALMER
FARMINGTON – Developer Scott Harwood and The Haws Company have refilled a lawsuit against this city in federal court.
The suit alleges discrimination, a lack of due process, illegal taking of land and more in relation to the Park Lane Commons project, which has been planned for land near Station Park.
The federal complaint is substantially the same as the original complaint, which was filed in state court in mid-July.
However, the re-filed suit emphasizes allegations about things such as sign height. Despite the fact that Park Lane Commons and Station Park share a zoning designation, Farmington won’t allow Park Lane Commons equally high signs, according to the filing.
That has kept businesses such as McDonald’s from committing to being part of the project, said Harwood.
“They’re just interpreting and spinning the ordinance such that they keep some of these things from coming in,” he said.
The project is stuck at the level of a proposed master plan, which the city has not accepted.
Other allegations in the suit relate to a planned drug rehabilitation center and allegations of discrimination.
“Plaintiffs were singled out for separate, disparate and unfair treatment,” the filing reads.
The discrimination claim is valid because federal laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act allow companies to make such claims on behalf of disabled people who would be their clients, said Haws Company attorney Jason Nelsen.
Farmington City Manager Dave Millheim disagrees.
“We were surprised by that claim just on the facts, let alone the corporate umbrella it was being put under,” he said.
The city asked for the case to be moved to federal court.
“It doesn’t surprise me that they’re trying to bolster their complaint. Its more of an angry statement from an angry person, and I think the court will find we have treated him fairly,” Millheim said. “I’m going to try really hard not to exaggerate this thing and have it play out in the media.”