Business Owner Sues Arlington ISD Over Planned Ag Center - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Business Owner Sues Arlington ISD Over Planned Ag Center

Lawsuit notes concerns about odor, seeks injunction and $100,000 in damages



    Lawsuit Challenges Arlington ISD Ag Center

    A business owner says Arlington ISD's plans to build a new agriculture center literally stink. He wants a judge to stop construction from moving forward, concerned the facility would bring unwanted odors to the area. (Published Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015)

    For nearly 15 years, the Arlington Independent School District has been searching for the right project to fill a piece of land it owns in the 3200 block of Pioneer Parkway. When voters approved a bond package in 2014, officials said they finally found a good one.

    "We want to make this a successful district facility that serves both the community and the students well," said Leslie Johnston, spokesperson for Arlington ISD.

    They plan to build a 46,000-square-foot Agricultural Science Center there, where ag science students could house their animals and attend classes.

    Johnston said they expect about 200 students to bring their animals to the facility, the majority of which will be smaller animals like rabbits, chickens and goats.

    "There will be some exercise pens both inside and outside, but they would actually be housed the majority of the time in the indoor facility," said Johnston.

    But Phillip Weldon, who owns a contracting business next to the site, would prefer that no animals move in next door.

    He could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but his attorney Frank Hill told NBC 5 his client has serious concerns about the noise and the smell the ag center would give off.

    "It's going to very substantially diminish the fair market value of his property," said Hill.

    Hill said Weldon expressed his concerns at a public meeting the district held over the summer and then at a another meeting they arranged with district representatives, but said Weldon was unimpressed with what he was told. So they filed a lawsuit against the district, asking for an injunction to stop the construction of the building and for more than $100,000 in damages.

    "We're disappointed that we have to spend taxpayer money defending the district against this frivolous lawsuit," said Johnston.

    Hill defended the lawsuit, saying it is "clearly not frivolous" and that his client is simply trying to protect his property.

    "It's just a good faith disagreement," said Hill. "And it will get worked out like all disagreements do."

    Johnston said the district is currently working with the building designers to minimize any odors.
    No court date has been set at this time.

    Construction on the ag center is slated to begin in 2016.

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