Legal wrangling over skate park continues


A neighbor to the Optimist Skate and Bicycle Park in Waterloo has amended a previously filed legal case in an attempt to cease activity there.

The litigation, filed by Scott and Marla Norris of 217 Magnolia Avenue in December 2012, claims that after the skate park’s opening in late 2011, “individuals, mostly juveniles, began using the facility and in doing so, generated noise that disturbed the quiet enjoyment of (the Norris) property, both in the loud noise generated by the skateboards, bicycles and roller skates on the metal ramps, as well as the raucous outbursts of visitors including the shouting of profanities.”

The skate park is located directly adjacent to the Norris property and is situated approximately 15 feet from their rear property line.

The city was initially listed as the sole defendant in the case, but the Norrises have since added the Waterloo Park District as co-defendant.

The plaintiffs seek an order that the conversion of the site into a skate park requires a special use permit and public hearing before the zoning board, and requests that skate park use be prevented until this is done.

“In the discretion of the city, it was determined that the use of the area as a recreational park was not ‘changed or extended’ and thus the special use permit procedure was not triggered,” attorney Dan Hayes filed last year on behalf of the city.

In May, Judge Dennis Doyle denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order on the park. In June, Judge Doyle denied the plaintiffs’ amended motion for a preliminary injunction.

This prompted the Norrises to file a new amended complaint involving the park district. In addition to the initial request for special use and zoning board protocols, they are seeking an injunction commanding the city and park district to disclose “disputed records” that were not produced as part of an alleged violation of the Freedom of Information Act.

The Norrises are now also seeking punitive damages against both the city and park district due to the skate park being a “private and public nuisance.”

The plaintiffs seek monetary damages of $50,000 for alleged sleep deprivation and loss of enjoyment of their property, and further damages of $200,000 for the defendants’ “willful, malicious and conscious disregard of the rights of plaintiffs in creating and maintaining this nuisance after notice of its nuisance-causing character was given by the plaintiffs.”

On Oct. 10, the park district filed a motion to dismiss the counts in which they are involved in this case, claiming that the plaintiffs have failed to state a cause of action and their requests for damages are barred by the Tort Immunity Act.

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