The Hole in The Wall NWA campground, which was asked to cease operations last month, is expected to file a legal complaint against the city.
Ryan Agnew, an attorney representing the business, said he intends to file a legal complaint at the Benton County Circuit Court asking for an injunction on the city's enforcement of residential zoning and a declaratory judgment against the city for violating an agreement with Hole in The Wall NWA, as well as damages for breach of contract.
Agnew said he would also like to examine a 2017 state law that created a 45-day filing deadline for annexation orders.
The land was annexed in 2016 and zoned R-1 residential by city ordinance when Bella Vista was working with Gravette to clean up the cities' borders, but the paperwork was not filed with the county.
The city agreed to treat the campground as an existing nonconforming use in December 2018, which city staff attorney Jason Kelley said was a compromise that allows the campground's owners to continue operating their business so long as they do not construct any additional units or stalls.
Agnew said he believes his clients acted in good faith and that their very first communications with the city led them to believe the property was in the county.
Tim Hutchinson, an attorney with RMP, the firm hired by the city to handle this matter, said he does not speak to matters facing potential litigation.
Ariane Grazian, part-owner of the Chelsea Road campground, said she was upset and felt bullied by the city government.
In May 2018, she alleged, business representatives met with city officials who told them the land was not in the city.
Later that month, the LLC was formed with business partners Steve Outain, Beth Day, Julie Duncan, Duane Paterson, Trey Staley, Haley Tranum, Andrew Mainer and Ariane Grazian.
Grazian said that in September city officials contacted the business to alert them of the annexation order and the Dec. 18 agreement was a product of several meetings with city officials.
The agreement came after Hole in The Wall indicated some intent to pursue legal action, she said.
This came as a surprise, she said, because the business owners checked a variety of sources, including GIS data and county records, in addition to speaking with officials.
According to the letter from RMP, MLS listings made at the time the property was purchased did indicate that the land was in city limits, including one listing that stated "land was recently annexed into the city of Bella Vista."
Grazian said that the ad in question was two owners prior to the LLC and that MLS listings are not something to rely on.
After a letter was issued last month asking the business to cease operations, she said, city officials threatened fines and forced the business to remove its sign and cancel events.
Grazian said she's particularly concerned that the city made an agreement and went back. A simple "no" would be better than going back and forth, she said.
"That threw us for a big loop," she said. "It was so flippant."
General News on 04/17/2019
Print Headline: Campground to file suit against city