Manufacturing  December 18, 2023

Brighton, co-defendants seek dismissal of Amprius lawsuit

BRIGHTON — The city of Brighton, battery maker Amprius Technologies Inc. and real estate owner Starboard Platform Brighton have all filed motions to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Brighton resident Angela Pirrone that seeks to stop Amprius from building a battery plant at a location in the city.

Pirrone filed a lawsuit Oct. 17 that challenged the city’s rezoning decision that affected the potential usage of the former Kmart Distribution Center, now called the Mile High Logistics Center, at 18875 Bromley Lane in Brighton. The property owner, Starboard, sought the rezoning in order to attract Amprius to the 1.3-million-square-foot site.

In filings Dec. 13, the city and Starboard made similar claims in seeking dismissal. Through their attorneys, they contend that the court does not have subject-matter jurisdiction to hear the case because it was filed under an incorrect set of laws, and that Pirrone does not have standing to file the lawsuit under the correct set of statutes because she lives too far from the site at an alleged 1.5 miles distance. While the city response says 1.5 miles, the Starboard motion says “almost a half mile.”

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Amprius filed a motion the same day, but its motion for dismissal argued that it should not have been included in the lawsuit in the first place because it neither filed for rezoning nor owns the property. “Starboard is the only applicant” for rezoning, Amprius’ attorneys argued. “Amprius is not a proper defendant to this action and has no interest in its outcome,” the company said.

The court previously removed Norris Design Inc. for similar reasoning.

In other recent filings, the city attempted to narrow the amount of material that needed to be included in the court-ordered certification of the record — essentially a compilation of documents that may have shaped the city’s decision to permit a rezoning of the property to enable Amprius to establish operations there. 

While the court has yet to rule on that, Pirrone filed an answer Dec. 8 in which she said state law does not permit a governmental body to challenge a list of documents that the plaintiff has asked to have included in the record.

“A portion of the materials objected to constitute the city council’s own gift of $929,500 in tax incentives in order to unlawfully lure an industrial manufacturing tenant into a facility designated as ‘commercial’ under the city’s master plan,” Pirrone’s attorney wrote in the response.

Further, “City defendants have no right to conceal evidence of spot zoning merely because city defendants began the process of approving an unlawful rezoning on Feb. 28, 2023, in advance of the Sept. 19, 2023, final decision. … Under the city defendants reasoning, city council can avoid having some portion of unlawful acts subjected to judicial scrutiny merely by strategically splitting up its acts across multiple city council meetings spread across multiple months leading up to the final re-zoning decision,” the response said.

The city, in a response to Pirrone’s response, argued Dec. 15 that Pirrone is asking the court “to expand the record … beyond what the Brighton City Council considered in making its rezoning decision. … It doesn’t matter if the city council members may have known other information that wasn’t in the record of the hearing about the rezoning decision,” the city argued.

The case filed Oct. 17, 2023, in Adams County District Court is Angela Pirrone v. the city of Brighton, the City Council of the city of Brighton, Starboard Platform Brighton JV LLC, Norris Design Inc., and Amprius Technologies Inc., case number 2023cv31466.

BRIGHTON — The city of Brighton, battery maker Amprius Technologies Inc. and real estate owner Starboard Platform Brighton have all filed motions to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Brighton resident Angela Pirrone that seeks to stop Amprius from building a battery plant at a location in the city.

Pirrone filed a lawsuit Oct. 17 that challenged the city’s rezoning decision that affected the potential usage of the former Kmart Distribution Center, now called the Mile High Logistics Center, at 18875 Bromley Lane in Brighton. The property owner, Starboard, sought the rezoning in order to attract Amprius to the 1.3-million-square-foot site.

In…

Ken Amundson
Ken Amundson is managing editor of BizWest. He has lived in Loveland and reported on issues in the region since 1987. Prior to Colorado, he reported and edited for news organizations in Minnesota and Iowa. He's a parent of two and grandparent of four, all of whom make their homes on the Front Range. A news junkie at heart, he also enjoys competitive sports, especially the Rapids.
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