Trial date set for city suit

A trial date has been set for the city of Vandalia’s complaint against a couple it believes is operating a restaurant on the city lake illegally.
Judge Allen Bennett last week signed a case management order that set Dec. 8 as the date for a bench trial in the city’s case against Steve and Latisha Mabry.
The order states that the bench trial is estimated to last three days, and that the final pretrial hearing in the case is set for Dec. 1.
The city filed a complaint for a declaratory judgment against the Mabrys in late June of last year, contending that the land on which they planned to open a restaurant was zoned for single-family residences.
The city has based its argument on a 1988 agreement with a Highland couple who owned that property at the time. James and Ann Hediger agreed to subject that property to residential zoning in exchange for constructing a boat dock.
At a city council meeting in May of last year, City Attorney Jack Johnston told aldermen, and the Mabrys, that that 1988 agreement was still in effect.
The Mabrys’ arguments have included the contention that the 1988 agreement is no longer in effect because there is no longer a boat dock on the property and that they do not plan to have one in the future.
While challenging the city’s stance on the issue, the Mabrys continued with their plans for their steakhouse, opening The Lake House in late August of last year.
The case management order signed by Bennett last week states that:
• All proposed amendments or motions are to be filed by Oct. 7.
• Each party is allowed to take 12 discovery depositions and 12 evidence depositions.
• The city is to provide all witness information by July 10, and the Mabrys, who are represented by David Cates of Swansea, are to provide that information by Aug. 20. Information related to any rebuttal witnesses is to be disclosed by Sept. 4.
• All discovery information is to be completed by Oct. 6, or 60 days prior to trial.

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