Residents may sue city over Sisters of Mercy 

With the City Council set to act today on a new permit for Mercy High School, rumors are swirling that some fed up neighbors will sue the city.

The school on 2750 Adeline Drive offers its scenic grounds for private events ranging from weddings to fundraisers. Neighbors, however, say these events create gridlock and keep them awake well into the night.

Last week, the council spelled out new restrictions on the school’s activities, including a cap on the number of events allowed to 125 a year. Weekend events will have to end by 11 p.m. and weekday events by 10 p.m. The Planning Commission will revisit the issue in a year for review.

However, nearby residents wanted to cap events to about one a week or 50 a year.

Two residents, Jok Legallet and Linda Abbey, have retained an attorney, on the grounds that constant private parties violate the property’s zoning.

Matt Zinn, the attorney representing Legallet and Abbey, said since the area’s annexation in 1979, the school didn’t have the right to expand its uses. He said zoning permits the school to host athletic events, school dances and pep rallies. But weddings and big parties that draw hundreds of people are not allowed, he said.

"We are examining all options," Zinn said. "If you were doing one wedding a year before 1979 and then the area was annexed by the city, you can’t expand the number of weddings to 100 a year."

"It’s a fairly significant thing," Zinn added. "We’re not talking about an occasional wedding."

City Attorney Larry Anderson was not available for comment. City Manager Jim Nantell said the baseline for activities at the school was established by the county prior to annexation and that the city has been working with the school to establish a new baseline for future uses at the school.

Jean Hastie, the campus executive director, said the school will follow the council’s instructions. She said she hasn’t heard anything about possible litigation.

"We’ve already started to work toward implementing the conditions," she said. "We’ve purchased sound meters. We’ve contacted and we will be working with a sound consultant."

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