Creamery stalled by second lawsuit

The last time I wrote about the Prigel Family Creamery was in July, when Bobby Prigel and his Bellevale Farm Inc. received a $250,000 loan from the county for their proposed creamery and store.

It turns out that shortly after the loan was announced, opponents of the Glen Arm business filed a second lawsuit against the creamery seeking to halt its opening. (The first lawsuit, arguing the creamery is prohibited under a state easement regulation, is on appeal.)

The second lawsuit, which also names the the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, alleges Prigel did not submit all “plans, specifications and other information” as required by DHMH, and that DHMH is awaiting final plans even after the building’s shell has been completed. The lawsuit is specifically concerned about a “lack of a plan for wastewater treatment,” which could harm the groundwater used by the Prigels’ neighbors.

Lawyers for Prigel, in seeking to dismiss the complaint, point out the creamery has not applied for nor been issued a milk processing permit and that the building itself remains unused and vacant. A lawyer for DHMH, in a similar motion, called the complaint “premature” and said the public would be better served by the lawsuit’s dismissal.

“DHMH’s willingness and availability to work with permittees prior to the submission of an application is exactly the kind of service the citizens and State desire and deserve,” the motion states.

Judge H. Patrick Stringer denied a defense motion to dismiss the lawsuit during a hearing last week in Baltimore County Circuit Court on grounds that the defense did not directly address the plaintiffs’ claims in its motion to dismiss. Stringer denied the motion without prejudice, however, meaning Prigel could file another motion to dismiss in the future.

Following the hearing, Prigel’s lawyers indicated they were gathering evidence from DHMH to show compliance with state building regulations.