County, township ask judge to end lawsuit in their favorAttorneys for Goodhue County and Warsaw Township have filed a motion asking a judge to rule in his clients' favor regarding a civil lawsuit.
By: Jen Cullen, The Republican Eagle
Attorneys for Goodhue County and Warsaw Township have filed a motion asking a judge to rule in his clients' favor regarding a civil lawsuit.
First District Court Judge Robert King is scheduled to hear from attorneys later this year and take the case under advisement.
King then has 90 days to make a decision.
Several Warsaw Township residents filed a lawsuit last year against the county, Warsaw Township and Cannon River Winery owners John and Maureen Maloney.
Plaintiffs Jason Fehling, Matthew Karl, David Bobert and other residents claim the Maloneys violated township zoning ordinances and illegally built a barn/pavilion intended for commercial use on their agriculturally zoned vineyard property off Highway 57.
The lawsuit also alleges the county and township have done nothing to stop commercial activity at the site and that the structure has not been inspected by local, county or state authorities.
The motion for summary judgment argues the plaintiffs have "failed to state an actionable claim" and that the defendants are entitled to a summary judgment in their favor because "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact."
The defendants say use of the pavilion brings loud noise, high traffic volumes, public intoxication, increased potential for trespassing and property damage, and potential diminution of property values.
"Named plaintiffs and all others so situated have a longstanding vested interest in their residential abodes and have rightfully relied upon township zoning ordinance to protect their property interest and way of life," the lawsuit states.
Among other things, the defendants want the court to order a stop to all picnics, tours, receptions and other events on the Cannon River vineyard property.
They are also seeking monetary damages and an injunction to cease use of the barn/pavilion and vineyard property for anything other than agricultural use.
In their response to the lawsuit, the Maloneys denied that their intentions were to alter the nature of the agriculture operation.
The couple said they wanted to "promote, enhance, support and complement existing agricultural uses as provided under Goodhue County zoning ordinances," according to court documents.
Goodhue County commissioners were updated on the lawsuit in closed session earlier this month.
Governmental bodies are allowed to close discussions regarding litigation to the public.