City of Howard accused of violating federal law for scuttling business sale
Lawsuit alleges city wanted to stop residential treatment facility
A nonprofit organization is accusing the city of Howard of violating federal civil rights laws after the city changed its ordinances to allegedly sabotage the sale of a commercial business in town.
The Judy Shaw Foundation owned the Howard Hotel and Conference Center located on Main Street, according to a lawsuit filed by the foundation. The nonprofit arranged to sell the hotel to a buyer who planned to convert it into a residential treatment center for chemical dependency. The sale was scheduled to close June 15, 2022.
Upon learning about the plans, the Howard City Council held a first reading on June 7 of ordinance revisions that, according to the lawsuit, defined “group homes” as facilities providing residential treatment centers. The changes also required that any group home had to receive special permission from the city to operate.
The second reading for the change was scheduled for June 13. The original zoning ordinance had been adopted in 1997.
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