HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - A Huntsville property owner is suing the city, claiming it rendered his property useless. That property is the former Plush Horse nightclub at 2021 Golf Road.
This all started with a denied liquor license.
"They're taking my property without paying me for it," said Dewey Brazelton, who owns Brazelton Properties. He calls what's happening "inverse condemnation."
His company is the plaintiff in the civil suit against the city of Huntsville, filed in Madison County Circuit Court.
He claims he has a tenant ready to open a new gay nightclub on the property, but that's being held up because they can't get a liquor license for the property.
"The [City's Liquor License Review Committee] turned down Brazelton Properties' application on the purported grounds that the property did not have sufficient parking spaces," the lawsuit reads. "The Committee, however, did not issue any written report supporting its decision and did not cite to a specific city ordinance it supports.]"
Brazelton said he also appealed the denial to the Huntsville City Council, which upheld the decision.
He claims he has enough parking, and the city just doesn't want the new club.
"I have more parking than anybody in Huntsville," he told WHNT News 19. "I've got five acres up there."
The lawsuit states there are 358 parking spaces at the current nightclub site, eight more than the city ordinance requires.
"The City, through [Zoning Enforcement Coordinator Jim] McGuffey, refused to count the additional parking spaces," it reads, "because... the spaces were on a limestone rock surface and were inadequately striped; and/or they were created by Brazelton... who did not get approval from the City for these additional spaces."
Brazelton believes the city is "arbitrarily" denying these spaces, and choosing where to enforce the parking requirements.
"They're making it up as they go," he said.
Brazelton is demanding damages "in an amount to be determined by trial" because he says he's losing more and more money on the property as it sits vacant. He claims he can not lease it because anyone who is interested in it would want a liquor license to sell alcohol at their new establishment.
We reached out to City Attorney Peter Joffrion, who said he is not at liberty to discuss pending litigation.