Judge Marsha Bergan rules in favor of Coralville in Iowa River Landing hearingPosted: March 28, 2012
On Monday Judge Marsha Bergan issued her ruling in response to a request for an injunction to stop Coralville from moving forward with their development plans involving Von Maur and the San Diego Developer Oliver McMillan. The suit was brought by local businesspeople who argued that the city’s actions were in violation of state law and provided terms that were unfair to other developers. Judge Bergen declined to issue the injunction, but the case itself will go forward with a motion by the city to dismiss to be heard sometime down the road.
Judge denies injunction request for Coralville Von Maur project by Gregg Hennigan with reporting by Dave Dewitte in the Cedar Rapids Gazette Mar. 26, 2012
The city agreed to give San Diego-based Oliver McMillan a $1.5 million economic development grant to buy the property on the condition the firm would then sell the land to Von Maur for $10.
That sale is expected to occur in the next week or so.
The plaintiffs argued the land deal violated state law preventing a city of disposing of property by gift. Bergan, however, agreed with the defendants that Iowa’s urban renewal law says a public body shall not be restricted by other statutory provisions and that the transaction was not a gift because it involved commitments beyond money that must be taken into consideration.
So I guess when you call something urban renewal, other laws don’t apply. I’m not surprised by this ruling, and it seems to be the right legal response–still, what Coralville is doing at the Iowa River Landing vis a vis stealing Von Maur from Iowa City and using every trick in the book to do so is wrong.