Sept. 29, 2004 - Citizens living near the Oro Valley facilities on Calle Concordia cannot force the town to cease activities there, according to a decision issued by Pima County Superior Court judge Sept. 9.
The court found in favor of Oro Valley in a suit filed last April by Celta and Stephen Sheppard, who were asking the court for an injunction to prohibit the present uses of the property at 680 W. Calle Concordia for town facilities, including a public works yard.
The court ruled that the Sheppard's case failed to prove an existence of a nuisance and supported the town in arguing that the facilities are "critical" to its operations and that an injunction would significantly reduce its ability to conduct business.
In his decision, filed Sept. 9, Judge Charles S. Sabalos wrote that because the activities at the facilities are not commercial or competitive and "have been undertaken because of a duty imposed on the town to provide for the welfare and protection of the citizens of the town of Oro Valley," zoning in that area is not applicable to such a facility.
The court also wrote that to constitute a nuisance, activities must be "substantial, intentional and unreasonable under the circumstances." Both parties were ordered by the court to pay their own legal fees.
The judge wrote that a nuisance in Arizona is determined by "weighing and balancing" several factors including: the locality and character of the surroundings; the nature of a defendant's business and manner in which it is conducted; the value to the community of a defendant's activities; a defendant's ability to reduce harm and the extent to which a defendant would be damaged by an injunction and the plaintiff damaged by the failure to enjoin.
The town council moved to acquire new property for the facilities at its Sept. 15 meeting that would move the complex from the residential setting of Calle Concordia to an industrial setting on east Rancho Vistoso Boulevard near Ventana Medical Systems.
While the move could take up to two years to finish, both Oro Valley councilmembers and residents in the area of the facilties, including Celta Sheppard, said at the meeting that moving the facilities to this site is an agreeable solution.
The town facilities have been on Calle Concordia since 1977, initially as part of leased space until the town bought the site in 1978 for $67,000.
Today, the town's old Town Hall and smaller buildings remain on the Calle Concordia site where more than 50 people are employed. As many as 100 vehicles, including those of employees and the town, as well as 14 pieces of heavy machinery also occupy the site at various times.
Residents living near the site have complained for years that the facilities are noisy, unsightly and reduce the value of the homes there.