CHARLOTTE – The state’s Court of Appeals has issued an opinion reversing portions of an Eaton County judge’s decision a year after his dismissal of a Minnesota-based solar and wind energy company’s lawsuit arguing an interim zoning ordinance adopted by Benton Township wasn’t valid.
Sandstone Creek Solar, LLC, a subsidiary of National Grid Renewables, formerly Geronimo Energy, filed the appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals in February 2020, according to court documents.
It came after Circuit Court Judge John Maurer denied a request from Sandstone Creek for a preliminary injunction on the interim zoning ordinance Benton Township enacted in November 2019.
The ordinance was enacted to block an 850-acre solar array the company proposed building in the township. Benton Township fell under Eaton County’s ordinances prior to enacting the interim measure.
The Court of Appeals opinion, issued Feb. 4, affirmed “the trial court’s denial of the motion for preliminary injunction,” and upheld portions of Maurer’s dismissal of the lawsuit.
But, according to its opinion, the court “erred in dismissing” two claims in the lawsuit “without notice and hearing on those Counts.”
Those claims “sought declaratory judgment that Benton Township had improperly imposed a moratorium on projects within the township.”
“…the record does not convince us that plaintiffs were on notice that the trial court was prepared to consider the dismissal of those claims,” reads the Court of Appeals opinion.
Messages left Friday morning with Chris Patterson, an attorney representing Benton Township in the lawsuit, weren’t returned.
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