CLARK COUNTY — A nearly three-year-old civil case filed by homeowners of a Charlestown neighborhood against the city is on hold due to a conflict with the judge presiding over the case.
On Nov. 4, Special Judge Jason Mount filed an order vacating the bench trial scheduled to start Nov. 12 in Clark County for the case regarding a property owned by the Pleasant Ridge Neighborhood Association. The notice states that the judge has a criminal trial lasting longer than expected, which won't be finished by that date. No new date has been set yet.
"Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the parties or the judicial officer, it is apparent that this matter will not conclude by November 8, 2019, and proceedings will continue into the week of November 12, 2019," the order reads, in part. "Therefore, the Judicial Officer will not be available on November 12, 2019 to conduct this trial as scheduled."
The case was filed in January 2017 by the homeowner's association against the City of Charlestown and its board of public works. Their initial complaint alleges that the city had unfairly imposed property code violations on a property owned by the association while not enforcing violations on multiple properties purchased by developer John Neace. As of July, Neace had purchased about a third of the 350 homes in the neighborhood.
The complaint further states that the fines were a way to get Pleasant Ridge property owners to sell for the eventual development; the city has refuted this, stating in court documents that "the city's enforcement of code is supported by strong interest in ensuring safe housing. The City found hundreds of violations in Pleasant Ridge homes. There is no dispute that these violations exist."
In June, the association filed a request for summary judgment in the case, which Judge Mount denied in October, but neighborhood association president Josh Craven told the News and Tribune just after that decision that the plaintiffs "100 percent believe we'll still win the case."