Judicial clarification may need to be sought before a Town of Bridgeport hearing ordered by the Crawford County Circuit Court can be scheduled.
The township was ordered by Judge Craig R. Day to hold a new hearing for Crawford Stewardship Project and Town of Bridgeport landowners Arnold Steele, Mark Fishler, Loren Fishler, and Dan Linder. Day made the order during a pre-trial scheduling conference held on January 21 to discuss a petition to intervene in the case by Pattison Sand Company.
Judge Day is substituting for Crawford County Circuit Judge James Czajkowski, who recused himself in the case. Day is a Grant County Circuit Court Judge.
Exactly what the hearing is intended to address is partially disagreed upon by the two sides in the case.
“What I am absolutely clear on is that the judge wants more evidence received by the town board on the conflict of interest that existed on the commission,” said Tim Yanacheck, the attorney representing the Town of Bridgeport in the case. “My understanding is that there were family relations involved that need to be addressed. But after that, we are in disagreement with the other side on the breadth of what the judge wants.”
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Marcel Oliviera of Reynolds and Associates, believes the judge also wants the hearing to address the process for public input in the decision making process.
“If the three parties cannot come to an agreement on what the judge’s intent is, I would think they would need to go back and ask for clarification,” said Town of Bridgeport lawyer Todd Infield.
Infield will be going over the notes and discussing the hearing with the attorney representing the township, Tim Yanacheck.
Judge Day did not set a hard deadline for the hearing, but stipulated it be held “as soon as practicable.”
The sides will need to meet. If they cannot come to an agreement, clarification from the judge will need to be sought.
If they do reach agreement, the next step will be to set a date when the town board, CSP, the landowners, and Pattison Sand Company can meet while insuring proper notice of the hearing.
“The judge suggested developing the public record while maintaining jurisdiction of the case,” Oliviera explained. That record will be used to determine whether the plaintiff’s receive what they have asked for – a contested case hearing.
CSP and the four landowners are the plaintiffs.
They are seeking to have the conditional use permit, which allows Pattison Sand Company to operate a frac sand mine in the township, voided and the permit application reheard.
Pattison Sand Company is involved in a second lawsuit involving their Town of Bridgeport mine on the properties of Rodney and Sandra Marfilius, Earl and Amber Pulda and Lee and Joan Pulda. Parts of those properties lie within the boundaries of the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, whose board denied a mining permit application on August 22, 2013.
Pattison Sand Company filed a lawsuit disputing the board’s right to deny the permit on Sept. 20, 2013. Dates have been set for the hearing.
Pattison Sand Company must file their brief by Feb. 14. The Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board must file a respondents’ brief by Feb. 25. Pattison then has until March 11 to file a reply brief. Oral arguments in the case involving the decision of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway Board to deny the mining permit application are set to begin on March 20 at 2 p.m.