MARSHALL, Mich. (WOOD) — A judge has rejected the arguments in a legal challenge to the planned Ford Motor Co. BlueOval Battery Park in Marshall, allowing the project to proceed.

In a Thursday ruling, Judge William Marietti granted a motion by the city of Marshall, its clerk and the area economic development agency for a summary disposition the lawsuit filed by opponents to the battery plant.

“This court will not exercise its discretionary equitable powers to facilitate a scheme that violates the (Marshall) City Charter and flouts (Michigan) Supreme Court precedent,” Marietti wrote in part.

The Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance praised the ruling.

“This decision affirms the hard work, vision and leadership of local elected officials in Marshall who have worked tirelessly to help bring back 2,500 local jobs to our area after years of job loss and inflation,” MAEDA CEO Jim Durian said in a statement. “Hundreds of workers in the skilled trades and construction are already feeling the positive benefits of Ford’s BlueOval Battery Park Michigan as they work on the site. With this ruling, Ford’s BlueOval Battery Park will remain on track and our community and small businesses will reap the benefits in terms of new jobs and new opportunities for decades to come.”

Marshall rezoned 700 acres south of Michigan Avenue between 13 Mile and 15 Mile roads as industrial for the BlueOval plant. The organized opposition to the project, the Committee for Marshall-Not the Megasite, challenged that rezoning. It filed a petition to call for a public vote on the matter but the city clerk deemed it insufficient. That led the group to file the lawsuit on June 27, calling the clerk’s decision unconstitutional and arguing leaders violated the city charter when they tied an appropriation to the rezoning — which made it ineligible for a petition challenge. It asked for an injunction and for the court to order the city clerk to accept the petition.

Marietti, who previously denied the injunction, disagreed with opponents’ arguments, saying the city properly tied the appropriation to the ordinance and that Michigan Supreme Court precedent supports doing so.

“This trial court does not have the prerogative to depart from Supreme Court precedent; any decision to abandon to abandon the principle … must emanate from the highest court,” Marietti wrote.

The judge also said the city clerk’s actions lined up with her responsibilities under the Marshall City Charter.

The Committee for Marshall-Not the Megasite said in a statement that it disagreed with the judge’s decision, saying it was “disappointed and alarmed.” It stressed, however, that the judge granted it a change to amend its lawsuit.

“The ruling by the Court is not a dismissal of the case,” the statement read. “The Court will allow the Committee to amend our complaint with additional evidence to support our claims. In addition, the Court’s ruling did not mention the unconstitutional act of the Clerk’s decision to throw out the vast majority of the Committee’s legally collected signatures. The Committee is also consulting our attorneys to determine next steps.”