Lawsuit seeks to stop multi-million dollar retail development in Bartlesville

Suit claims developer violating Clean Water Act
Posted at 8:42 PM, Feb 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-01 01:26:27-05

BARTLESVILLE --  A multi-million dollar retail development in Bartlesville is moving forward despite an effort to stop it with a federal lawsuit.

In the suit, a Bartlesville man claims the city’s development arm and two other groups working on the project are violating the Federal Clean Water Act.

The Sliver Lake Village development will bring five national retailers including Ross, TJ Maxx and Petco to Adams Boulevard and Silver Lake Road.

The controversial development also brings a lawsuit filed by Joel Rabin. He’s a former city council candidate who also owns two buildings he leases out on 2nd Street downtown.

He’s been against this project from the start but insists he isn’t opposed to development in the city.

“I'm concerned about the destruction of the wetlands but I'm also concerned about use of millions of dollars of tax payer money in support of this in competition to existing businesses,” Rabin said.

The suit asks for the construction to stop and for the developers, including the Bartlesville Development Authority, to clean up damage allegedly done to the watershed.

“The claim is that they did not get appropriate permits to be able to do what they're doing and what they're doing is throwing the dirt or whatever it's called into the water that goes into the Caney (River) and it's considered a pollutant by definition from the Federal Government,” he said.

2 Works For You obtained a letter from the developer’s attorney responding to a letter of intent to file the suit a few months ago.

In the letter, attorney Doug Dodd writes the developers weren’t in violation of the Clean Water Act and they plan to fight the suit in court.

The lawsuit is unlikely to affect construction of the project's first phase but could prevent a second phase from moving forward.

The developers’ attorney says they have not yet been served with the suit and won't comment on the specifics right now. 

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