Based on the potential massive loss to local property values, hundreds of additional plaintiffs have joined FCA's federal lawsuit against the City of Franklin.
To clarify the difference between the current ongoing Civil suit and the Federal suit:
The ongoing civil litigation focuses on the special use permit (SUP) granted in order to build a slaughterhouse on land rezoned from residential to industrial. This lawsuit continues, even though the applicant for the SUP, Strauss Brands (owned by Insight Equity in Texas) has formally dropped out of the process and has asked the city for time to sell the land they purchased. The City then unbelievably decided to push forward anyways and grant said SUP, even though there was no longer an applicant for it. It is unclear why the City would not view this as absolute validation of the plaintiffs' current claims in the civil litigation.
The SUP was, and is, both arbitrary and capricious, and its repeated issuance has not remotely followed any rules or laws related to it being granted. What the highly taxed citizens of Franklin were provided, was simply minimal theatrics around the show of a rubber stamp, poorly made, and blatantly obvious. The civil suit has been ongoing for almost 18 months now. The past 6 months alone have been spent by the judge attempting to get the City and their attorney to correct the record, regarding factual misstatements they have made. In and of itself, this seems to be quite the statement, when even a judge cannot manage to get defendants to correct what they've wrongly stated within 4 separate meetings conducted over a 6 month time frame.
Our federal lawsuit is broader and more significant. It represents the hundreds of households that will suffer significant financial loss based on arbitrary rezoning, designed to fix an ongoing, $27 million,10 year problem, which at best was a significant mistake, and at worst a potential fraud. The issue to which I refer is the Ryan Creek Interceptor, a problematic development of which few citizens have any awareness. Unfortunately the many families forced to pay for sewer service they cannot utilize (as their homes fill with sewer gas), are all too familiar with this ongoing serious problem, also entirely of the City government's making.
In addition, a TIF/TID was created for what will end up being $14 Million+. This tax incremental district does not meet a single legal criteria required to create such a district.
In fact, it could be this is actually the country's first "anti-TIF/TID." A tax incremental district is designed to encourage investment in areas that are blighted or otherwise economically undevelopable without city tax investment. The current Franklin administration took land, already purchased by a developer to create housing developments, and rezoned it industrial. They then put in place a SUP allowing for a giant slaughterhouse, effectively spending tax payer dollars to take pristine farmland and actually make it blighted. Once again our current City administration has taken us down the rabbit hole.
Even more problematic, this tax incremental district may not produce the hoped for tax revenue, and underperform, as is very common with this heavily misused type of development. In that case, all taxpaying citizens, including the very same citizens whose property values will be reduced by tens of thousands of dollars, may be required to subsidize the exact development they're adamantly against. Such incredibly poor decision making, in which taxpayers come last, may possibly be why citizens are now suing their local government in 5 different suburbs of Milwaukee currently.