Local farmer sued by Village of LaFayette
- Last Updated on Thursday, 21 June 2012 17:55
- Written by John A. Ballentine
LaFayette Village Attorney David Cover filed in Stark County circuit court on June 6, a lawsuit against Mr. Jerod Brown. The suit complains Mr. Brown, a farmer, drove his farm equipment on Village streets in violation of recently enacted Village ordinance No. 420.
The Village of LaFayette is seeking a temporary order to restrain and permanently keep Mr. Brown (or any other farmer) from entering the Village with farm equipment. Furthermore, the complaints seek a fine of from $100 - $750 a day for each day the situation persists.
In the complaint, Village President Pro Tem Donald (Greg) Bartley alleges the following:
“At various times following the enactment of Ordinance 420, including on April 2, 2012, Defendant, JEROD BROWN, made various remarks and threats to public officials of the Village, including the pro tem president of the Board of Trustees of the Village, Donald Bartley, which related to his intent to remove all trees and shrubs on the Premises and engage in commercial agricultural cash crop farming, to-wit: corn and soybeans, notwithstanding the enactment of Ordinance 420. If he did not get his way, he threatened to stockpile large amounts of manure on the Premises, he would go ahead with farming the land, and that he had lots of money and would ‘outspend’ the Village in court. He also stated he planned to engage in ‘organic farming’ on the Premises.”
Furthermore, the complaint alleges that:
“Despite all warnings and advisories to Brown, Brown nevertheless engaged in commercial farming for the production and harvesting of agricultural products by (a) causing large and heavy truck(s) and equipment to be driven on light duty and delicate municipal streets to apply anhydrous ammonia and vegetation killer chemicals, (b) drove large and heavy tractor(s) on the streets to transport a field cultivator, sprayer(s) and a planter, (c) applied dangerous and noxious anhydrous ammonia on the Premises, (d) sprayed dangerous and noxious vegetation killer on the Premises, and (e) planted cash crops on the Premises.”
The amendment in question was passed by a 4 to 1 vote without discussion during the April Village Trustees meeting. It was during that meeting in which Mr. Brown was informed, after the vote, by President Pro Tem Bartley that he could not bring his farm machinery into the Village.
This ordinance is an amendment to the Village nuisance ordinance No. 378. The new ordinance adds the following: “or to engage in any commercial farming for the production and harvesting of any agricultural or horticultural products on any private or public property within the Village of LaFayette.”
Mr. Brown is being represented by the law firm Barash & Everett, LLC, of Galva, IL. The first court date is scheduled for July 6 at 9 a.m. at the Stark County circuit court in the courthouse.