City of Burkburnett at odds with couple over incomplete building project

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - A Burkburnett couple is being sued for building a structure after the city issued them a stop work order for that building being out of ordinance. The couple now feels like they are being done wrong.

LaDana Stimpson never thought that when she and her husband decided to build an accessory building that it would turn into a lawsuit.

"The city looked at it, checked the setbacks, checked the size of the building, the size of the property, the size of the house, and okayed a permit," Stimpson said.

They decided in 2016 they wanted to build the building on one of their rental properties in Burkburnett and moved forward with the project after being given the green light by the city.

"It passed inspection," Stimpson said. "They said it was proper placement, size was great, setbacks were good. So we went ahead and poured the concrete."

But two days later the city issued the Stimpson's a stop work order on the entire project, leaving them confused.

"About 20 months went by that I attempted to reach out to the city," Stimpson said. "We tried to resolve and had no resolve at all. Very little reaction from the city."

So she took action in March to get their attention and resumed construction on the building. It did just that and they were put on the next city council agenda.

"We were each allowed to speak for a few minutes at a time," Stimpson said. "They went back into a closed session meeting, came back and decided that they were going to file a lawsuit against us to have the building taken down and fines issued."

Burkburnett City Manager Mike Whaley told Newschannel 6 that the city has been working with the Stimpson's for quite some time and they gave them many options, but no resolution was reached and unfortunately, a lawsuit is being filed.

Whaley said he cannot comment any further on the issue due to the pending litigation.

Stimpson's attorney Steven Booker said his client has not been called once by the city.

He added they've acknowledged they have issues with their ordinances and are trying to fix them, but it won't affect the Stimpson's.

"There are numerous buildings similar to my clients' building that are out of ordinance," Booker said. "And we cannot find any evidence where the city's making them go back and change them or take them down. We have some hoops to jump through, but I think we can get it in this case because of the actual facts of the case."

Stimpson said she doesn't know what will happen in court, but she will sleep easy at night knowing that she is doing what is right.

The couple said the city offered a $5,000 settlement, but it was the only formal offer.

Booker said the legal process is expected to begin in court in April and he will do everything he can to bring he says is justice to the Stimpson's.

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