The Delta County Commissioners are the principal named defendants in the lawsuit brought against the county in the Western Slope Layers (WSL) specific development case.
The commissioners view their appeal of the district court's September decision as a necessary move to protect all of county agriculture, they explained in an interview Monday.
The county has hired outside legal counsel to assist in the appeal.
"Agriculture is extremely important to Delta County," said commission chair Doug Atchley as he spoke with commissioners Bruce Hovde and Mark Roeber present.
The commissioners' appeal of a district court decision vacating county approval for Western Slope Layers (and also for Rocky Mountain Layers) is not a county action aimed to benefit only those two hen-egg operations, Atchley explained. "All of agriculture is important. Western Slope Layers is an ag operation and there are many other and diverse ag operations here," Atchley said. He and the other commissioners reaffirmed their view that the hen-egg operations are agricultural in nature. Opponents say the hen-egg operations are industrial in nature and are not compatible with rural residential neighborhoods, a view upheld by the district court's ruling and now subject of the commissioners' appeal.
The commissioners said they have retained the Denver law firm of Holland and Hart to handle the case before the Colorado Court of Appeals, a case that may not be decided for a year.
The county deposited $10,000 as a retainer for help from the firm which lists a specialty in appellate litigation. The firm describes itself as "a full-service law firm of more than 440 lawyers in 15 offices across the Mountain West and in Washington, D.C."
A report circulating on an Internet site says the county will pay up to $1,000 per hour for the legal representation. That report is false, county officials say.
"The rate is $485 per hour with a 10 percent discount," said county attorney Christine Knight.
Atchley added, "The rate is less for their legal assistants." The county's own legal staff will also work on the appeal.
As the appeal process begins to move forward, the operational status of Western Slope Layers is in limbo. The Hostetlers (owners of the Western Slope Layers) and the county both filed stay of execution requests seeking to halt the district court's "cease and desist" order.
County attorney Knight explained further in an email, "The court of appeals did grant a temporary stay until Nov. 7, at 5 p.m.
"Hostetlers (on Oct. 17) filed a motion for a stay throughout the appeal process, which the county will be joining this week. Plaintiffs have opposed the motion.
"The temporary stay (until Nov. 7) is to preserve the status quo until the court of appeals has time to review and enter a ruling on those pleadings," Knight explained.blog comments powered by Disqus