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Judge dismisses part of University Heights lawsuit against BK&M

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Greene County Circuit Court Judge Derek Ankrom has issued a partial dismissal of a case brought by a group of University Heights neighborhood residents against BK&M LLC, which seeks to build a commercial development at the intersection of Sunshine Street and National Avenue.

Ankrom dismissed the portion of the plaintiffs’ claim that sought to prevent BK&M from applying with the city of Springfield to change the zoning of lots in the neighborhood.

Other issues remain, including but not limited to the validity and enforceability of claimed deed restrictions, and a trial remains set for Jan. 18-19, the judge ordered.

The 17-page ruling, which was posted on Case.net late this morning, declares the claims of plaintiffs Dixie Sleight et al. to be ripe when it comes to requesting a declaration on the enforceability of century-old deed restrictions that disallow commercial development within the bounds of the neighborhood, but they are not ripe when they request interference with BK&M’s efforts to achieve legislative rezoning of its seven residential lots with the city of Springfield.

Ripe is a legal term that means the facts of the case have matured into a substantial controversy requiring a judge’s ruling, according to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University.

“The evidence before the court clearly demonstrates that BK&M’s effort to have the city rezone the lots is fluid and far from fixed or concrete – whether the property will be rezoned by the city and/or in what manner it will be rezoned remain to be seen,” Judge Ankrom wrote.

Expanded coverage will be included in the Jan. 15 Springfield Business Journal print edition.

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