Clermont has filed a motion for civil contempt against Hall County, claiming the government continued construction on the North Hall library despite an injunction from Hall County Superior Court.
In the motion, filed with the clerk of court's office late Thursday, Clermont attorney David Syfan said Hall County "in willful disregard of the preliminary injunction have graded the area at the Nopone Road Park that contains the footprint of the community center/library at that location."
County Attorney Bill Blalock disputed the claim.
"I've read the motion. It totally lacks any factual or legal basis. The county will respond to the motion in due course and await a ruling from the court," Blalock said.
Clermont is suing Hall County over the location of the North Hall library. The suit, filed in April, claims the Hall County Board of Commissioners said on multiple occasions that the new North Hall library branch would be built in the town of Clermont. Hall County officials said no promise was ever made and no vote was taken on the location until the commission voted in late February to place it at Nopone Road.
On Aug. 23, Hall County Superior Court Judge C. Andrew Fuller issued a preliminary injunction that ordered the county to maintain the status quo of the site until the court could make a decision in the lawsuit. The injunction forbid the county to begin construction on the combined library and community center building but allowed the county to continue construction on the North Hall park, which is being developed on the same Nopone Road property.
"It was the town of Clermont's position that they had 124 acres plus park land and that they could grade 123 acres but couldn't grade where the building was actually going to go," Syfan said. "They just graded the entire property."
County Administrator Charley Nix said grading the property does not go against the judge's order.
"If you have a community center there alone or a community center and a library combined, you still will have to do the same grading," Nix said. "The judge made that perfectly clear to both Clermont and the county that we could move forward with that, so we did and we have."
Syfan said the town of Clermont is asking the judge to enter an order of civil contempt and set out sanctions to come into compliance with the order of the court.
"In the perfect world, we would have asked the court to require the county rebuild the hill back the way it was as of Aug. 23. But to us that would be not a reasonable request because it would mean that public funds would be wasted." Syfan said. "We came up with alternative sanctions."