Eric Swanson Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Nathan Dial is adopting a new strategy in his annexation fight with the city of Ada.
Saying he was tired of fighting City Hall, Dial recently decided to dismiss his lawsuit over the Ada City Council’s decision to rezone his land from a general commercial district to suburban agricultural. Instead, he is building a part-time commercial auto repair shop on his property and challenging the city to try and stop him.
“The reason we’ve dismissed that lawsuit is because the law is in our favor, and we keep playing offense and saying, ‘Hey, we need this done. Hey, we don’t want you all to do this to us. Hey, we want to have the shop. Will you let us?’” he said in an Oct. 21 phone interview. “They keep telling us, ‘No, no, no’ for the last three years.
“And because the law’s in our favor, we’ve just decided that we’re going to go out there and run the shop and let them try to shut us down, instead of keep asking for permission and getting denied or some monkey wrench thrown in the middle of it.”
He said he has almost finished building the auto repair shop, despite problems with permitting and other minor issues. He added that the city has not taken further steps to shut him down.
Dial’s legal battles aren’t over yet. A lawsuit challenging the city’s decision to four tracts of land along Stonecipher Boulevard — including Dial’s property — is still pending in Pontotoc County District Court, and a second lawsuit challenging the Chickasaw Nation’s participation in the annexation fight is also under way.
Dial’s attorney, Jack Cadenhead of Seminole, did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Mayor Greg McCortney referred a call seeking comment to Ada’s attorney, Frank Stout. Stout was not immediately available for comment Tuesday afternoon.
Dial’s decision to dismiss one of his lawsuits against the city is the latest twist in a story that began when Dial asked the Pontotoc County Commission to rezone his property as a general commercial district. The commission originally denied his request, prompting Dial to sue the county.
The commission reversed course in February and granted Dial’s request, clearing the way for him to build a part-time commercial auto repair shop on 2.45 acres of his property. Dial later dismissed his lawsuit against the county.
Then in late February, the Ada City Council annexed four parcels of land along Stonecipher Boulevard — including Dial’s property — into the city limits. All four tracts were zoned as suburban agricultural, reversing the county’s earlier decision.
At the time, Cadenhead told The Ada News that Dial won the real fight when the county commission rezoned his property from suburban to commercial use. He said Dial’s use of the land was not compatible with the suburban classification, but it was legal before the city annexed the property.
Consequently, Cadenhead said, Dial’s property would be grandfathered in under the commercial classification.
Dial later sued the city over the rezoning decision, but that lawsuit was dismissed earlier this month. He also joined several other landowners in a lawsuit challenging the decision to annex their property into the city limits. That lawsuit, which asks the court to undo the annexation decision and order the city to take the land out of the city limits, is still pending.
Dial said he has spent too much time and money on legal battles, which was part of the reason behind his decision to dismiss the rezoning lawsuit.
“The wheels of the justice system move very slow,” he said. “I’m three years vested in this and have not gotten any further than when I started. So I’m tired of waiting.”