Nearly a year into the Lewis County Lollipop Guild’s quest to erect a progressive billboard off Interstate 5, the organization has filed suit against the small construction company building housing next door, as well as the county and city of Chehalis.
In the lawsuit, Lollipop Guild founder Kyle Wheeler alleges that local governments have favored Scott Marvin’s Marvin Construction, LLC, which has “repeatedly encroached” and “continually trespassed” on his single-acre property with “blatant disregard of jurisdictional setback requirements.”
“Plaintiffs have beseeched the city and county to exercise their enforcement powers, to no avail,” the lawsuit reads, echoing Wheeler’s claims that the city has been stonewalling his efforts to rezone the property for his billboard, something city officials have denied. Wheeler is still pushing to rezone the parcel.
Erin Hillier, the city’s attorney, did not immediately respond to request for comment on the lawsuit.
In an email, Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said the county “must limit public comment to protect the integrity of the case,” and that the county will address the matter in court.
“Obviously, we were surprised the Lollipop Guild opted to bring suit against the county over an issue that does not involve the county,” he wrote.
Wheeler’s Lollipop Guild is the progressive organization behind local “Rural Americans Against Racism,” “Love Thy Neighbor” and “Lewis County Welcomes Everyone” signs.
Marvin Construction LLC is currently working on the nearby Glacier Ridge subdivision.
In a conversation with The Chronicle, Marvin said he’s “100% going by the books with the city.”
Wheeler contends that he warned Marvin multiple times that construction of a garage would encroach on his property and stormwater line, stifling the possibility of accessing it and performing maintenance in the future. The decision to continue with construction, Wheeler said, was one of “malice.”
Marvin denies that his structure extends past his own property lines.
“I’ve never had to deal with this,” he said. “Whatever this beef is … that’s between him and the city and county. And somehow I’m an easy target.”
Marvin also denied that he has an issue with Wheeler’s proposed billboard, saying “I’m not going to live there. I wouldn’t have to look at it.”
In lieu of a billboard, three flags — a pride flag, a Black Lives Matter flag and an American flag — are currently flying on the property.
Wheeler’s property is in Chehalis’ unincorporated Urban Growth Area (UGA), governed by interlocal agreements between the city and county. In a March email to Wheeler, Lewis County Civil Deputy Prosecutor Amber Smith said the proper jurisdiction for Wheeler’s stormwater concern would be with the city.
“They’ve both decided at one point that they’re not subject to (the stormwater agreement),” Wheeler said. “The biggest issue is trying to get accountability from my local government.”