Butterball-Longmont trial set for April

LONGMONT – A trial date has been set in the lawsuit filed earlier this year by Butterball LLC against the city of Longmont over the city’s rezoning of the company’s former turkey packaging facility and surrounding area.

The six-day trial is set to begin April 14 in Boulder District Court.

The Butterball plant in downtown Longmont, which is about 300,000 square feet, closed in December 2011. In January, the Longmont City Council voted 5-2 to rezone the area around the intersection of First Avenue and Main Street from light industrial to mixed use.

Butterball has contended that the rezoning hampers the company’s efforts to sell and market the building to potential buyers interested in using the facility for food processing. In its lawsuit, the company says the city lacked authority to approve such an ordinance and that the ordinance is unconstitutional.

In an email from a company spokesman recently, Butterball declined to say whether it had any interest from specific potential buyers for the facility.

Butterball also alleges in the lawsuit that Longmont failed to give proper notice of public hearings and meetings. The city is in the process of redoing the public hearing process, and Judge Andrew Macdonald has granted the city time to do so to cure such a potential defect to the zoning ordinance.

As part of that process, the planning and zoning commission will conduct a public hearing on Sept. 18. There will also be a public hearing at the Oct. 8 city council meeting, during which the council could re-vote on whether to rezone the First and Main area.

The area is located east of South Pratt Parkway, north of the St. Vrain River, south of Second Avenue and west of Dickens Farm Park.

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