A self-storage developer in Visalia, Calif., has given the city one last chance to come to an agreement about a property dispute before he takes legal action.
Derrel Ridenour wants to build Derrel’s Mini Storage on about 10 acres of a 20-acre plot of land on the west side of Demaree Avenue. Ridenour, who owns more than 50 self-storage facilities across California, has owned the property for about a decade.
The dispute revolves around a 12 1/2-foot-deep piece of land in which the property owner refuses to agree to street improvements. Ridenour has asked the city to forcibly take the land by eminent domain, but the city has so far refused, telling Ridenour he must figure out how to meet the rezoning conditions and resolve the conflict with the property owner.
The Visalia City Council approved a parcel zoning change in 2009, paving the way for the self-storage development. However, there’s a conditional zoning agreement which requires the owners of all the properties located on the west side of Demaree to widen and improve Demaree Avenue along the proposed development. Ridenour agreed to cover the $1.4 million project which includes widening the street, adding gutters and a sidewalk. All of the residents agreed, but one, Rose Ann Walker, later changed her mind. Since then, the property has come under control in a partnership with her sons.
Ridenour’s attorney, Jim McKelvey, said the city drafted the conditional zoning agreement and it’s their responsibility to enforce it. Derrel’s parent company, Cotdale Limited Partnership, initiated a breach of contract lawsuit against Walker. The sons were not named in the lawsuit because they were not involved in the original agreement. The company plans to continue with the lawsuit and has altered the breach of contract lawsuit to include them. The Walker family did not file a response to the lawsuit within the allotted time frame. McKelvey will now seek a default judgment.
Last week, city council members again refused to meet with McKelvey and Paul Ridenour, who manages the self-storage company for his semi-retired father. City attorney Alex Peltzer said Ridenour must first settle the lawsuit with Walker and meet the conditions of the rezoning. McKelvey has requested another meeting with city council members. If the city refuses, the company is prepared to file an $11 million lawsuit against the city within the next few weeks.