For more than seven years, Brown University has had its sights on improving its athletic field it has owned since the late 50’s.  It followed several protocols and included in its process an outreach to the community to inform them of its intended project.  Absent from these forums and all public hearings on these project was Mr. Key and his wife Mrs. Mitchell.  After the project was underway and had gone through several revisions, Mr. Key, representing himself and the Trust owning the property he lives in and which is in proximity to the athletic field to be renovated asked for several meetings with Brown officials.  Not happy with the renovation plans, and alleging changes from those approved by the city, Mr. Key and others sent a letter of cease and desist.  From there Mr. Key and others would file suit and alleged several claims including requesting declaratory judgement.  This has now dragged on for over seven years and it looks like another 5 years are in the works since the Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s dismissal of the action.

The lower court had ruled that the Plaintiffs, in this case Mr. Key, his wife and the Trust, had no standing.  The Supreme Court reversed finding that “…the plaintiffs allege that Brown omitted material elements of its construction project from its IMP, thereby depriving the CPC of an opportunity to review “the true project.” As a consequence, the plaintiffs further contend, “[n]o public forums were held with respect to the [field] hockey field location, design and amenities prior to the submission or approval of the [IMP], as required.” As abutting property owners, the plaintiffs have clearly established an injury in fact.”

Accordingly, the Rhode Island Supreme Court vacated the lower court’s finding and remanded as to Count 1 of the Amended Complaint.  See full opinion at: Key, et. als v. Brown University, et. als.