- Associated Press - Saturday, July 2, 2016

PELLA, Iowa (AP) - Casey’s convenience stores is suing the city of Pella, alleging it improperly blocked plans for a new store there.

The company first began exploring the possibility of a new store in Pella last year and says city officials supported construction of a store at Main and Union streets at the time, the Ottumwa Courier reported (http://bit.ly/299AeY8 ).

But the lawsuit says officials abruptly flipped and opposed the plan just hours before a meeting of Pella’s planning and zoning commission to consider them.

The commission voted to reject the plans, and the City Council later upheld that decision.

The lawsuit says the city claimed to have gotten a second legal opinion in opposing the store, but Casey’s claims that it made up the second legal opinion.

“The Commission and the City acted individually and collectively in bad faith in asserting that (they) had sought and obtained a second legal opinion (different from that of its long time attorney, Robert Stuyvesant) and relied on this phantom legal opinion, which the plaintiffs have established did not exist,” the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit also takes issue with commission member Robin Pfalzgraf and her vote against the plans. Pfalzgraf had signed a petition protesting the planned store and was advised by the city’s attorney to abstain from the vote because of that. Instead, she was the deciding vote in the commission’s 3-2 decision, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit asks a judge to order the city to turn over transcripts of proceedings involving the decision on the store and all information the city reviewed and considered before making its decision. It also asks the judge to order the city to approve building plans for the proposed store.

The city’s offices were closed Saturday, and a message left at City Hall seeking comment was not immediately returned.

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Information from: The Ottumwa Courier, http://www.ottumwacourier.com

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