Athletic Fields Lawsuit ( .PDF )
City of Lawrence restraining order ( .PDF )
USD 497 Restraining Order ( .PDF )
The lawsuit filed late Monday by the Centennial Neighborhood Association against the city of Lawrence and the Lawrence school district includes a temporary restraining order, endorsed by Judge Michael Malone, barring further construction of Lawrence High School's athletic fields.
The temporary restraining order halts the progress of the athletic fields, which began construction two weeks ago, following months of negotiations with the city.
"What we hope to come out is that in the end, the city will follow their zoning codes and the school district will be made to play by the rules," said Bob Tryanski, one of the plaintiffs.
City Manager David Corliss had no comment, saying he could not discuss pending litigation.
Lawrence school district Superintendent Randy Weseman said the district will fight the suit.
"We will aggressively pursue a legal strategy that ensures the ultimate outcome of providing safe and adequate practice/competition fields for our kids, and pursue the recovery of any resources lost as a result of this challenge," he said.
Weseman said the lawsuit did not surprise him. "If you're surprised that somebody filed a legal challenge to a public project, then you're new to Lawrence," he said.
Malone's order is a small victory for neighbors of the project, who have argued that the 4,000-seat football stadium is too big for the Lawrence High plot, and that the four athletic fields would disrupt the neighborhood.
The lawsuit claims that the city and school district broke city and state laws by designating the projects under the wrong development code, calling the passing of special-use permits "arbitrary, unreasonable, and capricious." It also alleges that city and district officials bypassed public discussion of the projects by communicating in private, and that city commissioners prejudged the decision to approve the $10.4 million project in violation of state law.
The suit also asks for damages in excess of $75,000.