Advertisement

Couple file federal suit against city of Harrodsburg

Residents allege business not being governed by the same laws, ordinances

Residents allege business not being governed by the same laws, ordinances

August 20, 2009|By TODD KLEFFMAN

HARRODSBURG — A Harrodsburg couple who have been thwarted in their efforts to curtail activities at a neighborhood bed and breakfast are trying a different tactic by making a federal case of their complaints.

Curry and Leslie Dedman, who live on Beaumont Avenue next door to Aspen Hall Manor, filed a federal lawsuit last month against Harrodsburg officials alleging the city has failed to enforce existing laws and ordinances.

Since Aspen Hall opened in 2005, the Dedmans have maintained that weddings, receptions and other special events held there have shattered the tranquility of their neighborhood. The business draws large and sometimes unruly crowds that block traffic, violate noise and parking ordinances and is generally inappropriate for a residential area, they argued.

Efforts to place restrictions on Aspen Hall through local city commission and planning and zoning were ultimately shot down last year, when the state Court of Appeals ruled that Aspen Hall could carry on because various restrictions were placed on the business came after it opened.

Advertisement

In the federal lawsuit, the Dedmans do not name Aspen Hall as a defendant and state that they are not challenging the Court of Appeals ruling. Instead, it claims the city has adopted a strategy of "conscious indifference" in dealing with complaints about Aspen Hall and has ignored hundreds of violation of state and local laws and ordinances.

Along with the city, Mayor Lonnie Campbell, commissioners Joe Hood, Kevin Perkins, Jack Springate, former police chief Ernie Kelty and enforcement officer Howard T. Sallee Sr. are named as defendants. Commissioners Eddie Long and Kerry Anness, who generally sided with the Dedmans during the controversy, are not named.

The lawsuit, filed by Lexington attorney Kent Masterson Brown in U.S. District Court in Lexington, seeks an undisclosed amount of compensatory and punitive damages. It alleges the defendants committed a "systemic violation" of the Dedmans' civil rights provided by the Constitution. It has caused their property to lose value and Dedmans to suffer from mental and emotional pain, humiliation and sociological distress, the lawsuit maintains.

The Dedmans document 177 various violations in the lawsuit. Many involve parking, noise and trespassing complaints. They also allege that Jill and Andrew Romero, owners of Aspen Hall, have encouraged their guests to agitate the Dedmans by holding up signs that read "Get a life" and littering their property. Leslie Dedman claims she was hit by one of Aspen Hall's guests.

The Dedmans repeatedly told the Romeros of their complaints but were ignored, the lawsuit claims. Similarly, city officials and police were regularly called to investigate the violations, but never issued any citation or took action to stop or punish the violations, according to the lawsuit.

City Attorney David Taylor declined to comment on the lawsuit Tuesday. Jill Romero denied the allegations and suggested the Dedmans have a personal vendetta against the business.

"The city has tried to shut us for all these things, but we've already been to court and won," she said. "It's just the Dedmans. The rest of the neighborhood has never complained on us."

Central Kentucky News Articles
|
|
|