A lawsuit filed against the Ellis County Commission in late 2016 has been scheduled for a bench trial May 15.
The petition was brought by Hays-area developer Mary Alice Unrein after the commission failed to approve a plat for her proposed residential subdivision known as Blue Sky Acres. The development would have been approximately 2 miles south of Hays along U.S. Highway 183, adjacent to an existing subdivision.
The plat failed to pass due to a tied 1-1 vote in November 2016, with commissioner Marcy McClelland opposing the subdivision. Commissioner Dean Haselhorst was in favor, with commissioner Barbara Wasinger recusing herself to prevent the appearance of conflicting interest. Her husband, Tom, previously served as an attorney for Unrein and continues to be a friend and spokesman.
McClelland, when voting against the measure in November, expressed concerns about environmental issues related to private septic systems and groundwater contamination. She also is named personally as a defendant in the lawsuit.
The bench trial was ordered following a case management conference via telephone Feb. 12. The one-day trial is set to begin at 9 a.m. May 15 and will be heard by Pawnee County judge Bruce Gatterman.
Unrein is represented in court by Hays attorney Donald Hoffman. McClelland is represented by Kansas City attorney Ryan Loehr and the county by County Attorney Tom Drees.