Company claims City of Natchez owes $1.8M in damages

Published 12:41 am Saturday, June 4, 2016

NATCHEZ — A housing development company claims the City of Natchez owes it $1.8 million in a dispute ongoing since 2007.

At a hearing earlier this week, Roundstone Development LLC presented evidence in court supporting the company’s claim that the city owes the company approximately $1.8 million in damages.

Roundstone sued the city first in 2007, then in 2010, seeking compensation for what the company says are damages resulting from the denial of a rezoning application.

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The 2007 zoning dispute was ultimately resolved in 2013 by the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Roundstone planned to build 65 single-family units, stretching from Old Washington Road to Oriole Terrace, but needed the city to first rezone the property in order to begin construction.

The Natchez Planning Commission denied the application, and the board of aldermen later upheld that decision.

Roundstone claimed it had purchased the acreage under the belief that no problems with developing the housing project would occur.

Roundstone sued the city, saying the government was wrong to deny its rezoning application. The company lost its case in circuit court and appealed the case to the Mississippi Supreme Court in 2013, which sided with the city on the matter.

While the first lawsuit was ongoing, the company also sued the city for damages in 2010, asking for compensation for the lost business due to the city’s wrongdoing in the matter.

In 2011, Circuit Court Judge Forrest “Al” Johnson ruled against the city for breach of contract and misrepresentation. The decision was a default judgment, made because the court decided the city did not respond to the lawsuit in a timely fashion.

City Attorney Hyde Carby said Friday both parties are to submit briefs to the court by Aug. 1 on whether Roundstone’s damages are recoverable.