Neighbor takes skate park matter to federal court

A neighboring husband and wife to the Optimist Skate and Bicycle Park in Waterloo are taking their case to federal court in an attempt to cease activity there.

The plaintiffs, Scott and Marla Norris of 217 Magnolia Avenue, previously filed a legal request in Monroe County Circuit Court for an injunction against the city and park district plus damages.

After this request was denied locally in December, the Norrises decided to take their legal challenge elsewhere.

“Our lawyers thought it best to move it away from Monroe County,” Scott Norris said.

In the federal filing, the plaintiffs allege that their rights under Article VI and the First, Fifth and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution have been deprived as well as other state and federal laws.

“Defendants conspired together, and then individually and jointly committed acts, under color of state law, which deprived plaintiffs of these rights,” the filing states.

The federal filing is an eight-count suit seeking an order preventing activity at the park until zoning and special use proceedings are held. The plaintiffs also seek monetary damages.

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

Critical to their argument is the claim that the conversion of the site at 316 North Library Street, which formerly featured a public swimming pool and tennis courts, into a skate park required a special use permit and public hearing before the zoning board prior to approval.

The Norris family maintains that since the park’s opening in late 2011, users of the skate park have generated so much noise that it has “disturbed the quiet enjoyment” of their home.

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Corey Saathoff

Corey is the editor of the Republic-Times. He has worked at the newspaper since 2004, and currently resides in Columbia. He is also the principal singer-songwriter and plays guitar in St. Louis area country-rock band The Trophy Mules.
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