North Augusta City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday to authorize legal action in response to a lawsuit filed last week against the city.
Stephen Donohue and the River Club Homeowners Association filed a lawsuit against the city, the mayor and city council alleging, amongst other things, that an ordinance passed Nov. 18 to amend the local Tax Increment Financing ordinance to fund Project Jackson was invalid.
Project Jackson is a proposed $144 million riverfront development covering 25 to 30 acres that will feature a mixture of public and private investments, including a baseball stadium that will become the new home of the Augusta GreenJackets.
The resolution authorizes Mayor Lark Jones and City Administrator Todd Glover to take actions “to bring the litigation to a prompt conclusion in the city’s interest,” including answering the complaint as well as filing counterclaims and additional litigation against the plaintiffs.
“While it is not the desire of the City of North August to file a lawsuit against the River Club Homeowners Association (RCHOA), the recent action filed on behalf of the RCHOA forces the City to move to resolve this issue quickly so as to protect the sizeable investment that benefits our entire city and region,” according to a statement issued by city council. “While we realize that there are those in the RCHOA who oppose the lawsuit filed on their behalf, unfortunately they cannot be individually removed from the suit. It is our hope that this can be resolved as quickly as possible to allow the project to remain on track.”
If the plaintiffs dismiss their claims against the city, then the city will also dismiss any claims it has against the plaintiffs, according to the resolution.