Red River Town Council plans to appeal A & S Retail lawsuit

By Michael Ritterhouse — Staff writer

RED RIVER – At a special meeting Monday (April 7) Red River’s Town Council voted unanimously to appeal the decision of a lawsuit that was decided in favor of plaintiffs A & S Retail on Feb. 9. The lawsuit was initiated by A & S Retail after the council voted to deny their application for construction of storage units on Main Street at the Aug. 19, 2014 council meeting.

The town council had followed the Planning and Zoning Commission’s recommendation to deny the permit citing ordinances regarding permitted use at the company’s 115 East Main St. location.

A&S Retail representative, Craig Swagerty, said at the August meeting the proposed storage units would be placed in the back of the lot away from Main Street.

Councilor Ben Richey said he had discussed the appeal with town attorney John Appel who had indicated to him the appeal process will take nine to 12 months.

Mayor Linda Calhoun said “the judge said that the decision felt like it was us (town council), not the town” who had denied the application. Calhoun also said that the council was open to hear public comments regarding A & S Retail.

Planning and Zoning Commission Member Richard Brown asked Calhoun how community members could communicate their opinions regarding the decision and the construction to the appeals court. He asked if a petition was appropriate and, if not, what kind of guidance he could get.

In other business, the council approved resolutions supporting an application for funding a water tank and distribution line project. The tank will be located up Bitter Creek Canyon at the same elevation as the current 1.25-million-gallon tank. The new tank will be 700,000 gallons and will be supported by a new 12-inch line. Russell Church estimated total project cost at $1.9 million.

The town also approved advertising for an invitation to bid for an ambulance bay remodel. The remodeling will improve and expand the current ambulance bay eastward and is located at the back of Town Hall. Funding was previously approved by the state legislature in 2014.