Valley ranchers seek court order on county ordinance |

Valley ranchers seek court order on county ordinance

Staff Reports

A Douglas County ranching family wants a court order to clarify that its land is not restricted by a county land use ordinance.

The request was filed April 4 in Douglas District Court against Douglas County and District Attorney Scott Doyle. The plaintiffs include Melvin Schwake Jr. and Edrie Schwake, acting as trustees for two different trusts.

The eight-page complaint cites a lawsuit dating back to 1992, when the Schwakes tried to divide a total of 514 acres into 10-acre parcels.

The resulting litigation was eventually decided in the Schwakes favor, with the district and state supreme courts affirming their request.

The complaint says the county subsequently sought legislation to change the law, but was rejected. A county ordinance putting restrictions on the parcels was then enacted as part of the development code, it says.

The county in 1999 notified the Schwakes that the lands are subject to the ordinance and accompanying development restrictions. The Schwakes say that contention is clouding the land titles and the county has refused to acknowledge it and clarify that the ordinance doesn’t apply to the land.

They are seeking a court order stating the ordinance doesn’t apply, damages in excess of $10,000, attorneys fees and costs of the suit.