Pennsylvania Record

Monday, January 20, 2020

Officials dismissed from Gettysburg business owner's lawsuit that claims retaliation through parking law

Federal Court

By Nicholas Malfitano | Dec 5, 2019

Gc
Gettysburg

HARRISBURG – A number of officials have been dismissed from a lawsuit filed against the Borough of Gettysburg by a local business owner who alleged they re-instituted a decades-old parking ordinance in order to retaliate against her for leading an opposition to a zoning dispute.

According to the Aug. 14 complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, plaintiff Linda Atiyeh, who owns several businesses on York and Chambersburg Streets in Gettysburg, filed the suit against defendants including the Borough of Gettysburg, Gettysburg Borough Mayor Theodore Streeter, Borough Manager Charles Gable, Borough Parking Manager Richard Miller II and others.

On Oct. 15, counsel for the defendants filed a motion to dismiss Atiyeh’s various claims and all defendants except the borough from the case – citing that if the officials in question are in service to the borough through their official capacities, then listing the borough as a defendant makes their further inclusion duplicative and redundant.

These defendants - Theodore H. Street, Susan Naugle, Wesley K. Heyser, Patricia A. Lawson, Jacob Schindel, Chris Berger, Charles Strauss, John Lawver, Charles R. Gable, and Richard L. Miller II - were dismissed from the case through an order from U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III on Nov. 12.

Furthermore, the borough claimed it was well within its rights to enforce parking ordinances, that the plaintiff showed no proof of disparate treatment compared to other people, that the plaintiff’s claims of due process and promissory estoppel violations were unsubstantiated.

The plaintiff has alleged the ordinance denies her the ability to reserve parking spaces in front of her businesses, which includes The Upper Crust and Gallery 30. The ordinance however “preserves” the reserved parking for other businesses in the area, Atiyeh claimed in her complaint.

“Defendants’ actions have interfered with Atiyeh’s ability to access her property and operate her businesses, and constitute an unconstitutional deprivation of plaintiffs’ rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses, and the First Amendment,” the plaintiff’s complaint stated.

Atiyeh, who according to the suit has invested more than $8 million to restore and preserve the Borough’s historic properties, claimed the defendants began to harass her in late 2016 by “forcing” her to apply to the Borough’s Historic Architectural Review Board for signage and merchandise displays.

“The absurdity and vindictiveness of defendants’ actions garnered significant public attention and criticism, including numerous editorials in local media that were unfavorable to defendants,” the suit stated.

Atiyeh seeks compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and costs and a declaration that the Borough’s parking ordinance amendment is unconstitutional.

The plaintiff is represented by Danielle E. Ryan and Gerald E. Arth of Fox Rothschild, in Exton and Philadelphia.

The defendant is represented by Rolf E. Kroll of Margolis Edelstein, in Camp Hill.

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania case 1:19-cv-01412

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nick.malfitano@therecordinc.com

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Borough of Gettysburg

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