A judge ruled late Wednesday that Hall County commissioners violated no laws when they voted to move the proposed North Hall library from Clermont to Nopone Road.
The city of Clermont sued Hall County in April over the location of the library. The suit claimed the Board of Commissioners abused its discretion with sales tax dollars when it "indicated in a multitude of public statements, that the future Clermont library branch for the North Hall area was going to be constructed on a part of the 41.43 acre tract purchased ... in the town of Clermont."
Hall County officials said Clermont was a potential location for the library but 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.
In a ruling issued Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Andrew Fuller sided with the county, ruling the decisions of the commissioners were "perfectly compliant" with state laws concerning the use of special purpose local option sales tax money, which will fund the new library.
In his ruling, Fuller said, "The Court finds it uncontroverted that Defendants have performed their official duties in accordance with the terms of the SPLOST V and SPLOST VI documents."
Hall County Commission Chairman Tom Oliver, who earlier this year proposed moving the library onto the same site as the North Hall park and community center, said he was pleased with the ruling.
"I think that this project will hopefully be something that all of Hall County will be proud of," Oliver said.
"I'm optimistic that what will be built on Nopone will be one of the top projects in the United States."
Clermont Mayor James Nix did not have a lot to say about the ruling Wednesday.
"Of course I'm surprised," Nix said. "I haven't had a chance to see it."
On Aug. 23, Fuller issued a preliminary injunction that ordered the county to maintain the status quo of the Nopone Road 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.
On Sept. 30, Clermont filed a motion for civil contempt against Hall County, claiming the government continued construction on the North Hall library despite the injunction.
The motion claimed 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."
The North Hall park will include a track, baseball complex and multipurpose fields.