City responds to Comprehensive Plan lawsuit

The city of Charlottesville has responded in Charlottesville Circuit Court to a lawsuit filed in December by anonymous property owners seeking to void the Comprehensive Plan adopted by City Council last November. The plaintiffs assert the city did not follow state code resulting in a plan that is not “general in nature” and that failed to present a transportation plan to support new density allowed under the plan.  (read the plaintiff’s suit)

The city filed two responses, including one requesting the Court order the identities of the plaintiffs to be revealed. The other is a demurrer which argues the plaintiffs have no right legal basis on which to have filed their case. (read the demurrer)

“Plaintiffs have no express right of action under Virginia 15.2-2223… to challenge the sufficiency of the Comprehensive Plan,” reads the first section of the demurrer. 

The first page of the motion requesting identification of the anonymous parties

The city’s response goes on to state that localities have the legal requirement to designate land use categories, and that the General Assembly has given leeway for localities to do so. The response argues that the Comprehensive Plan is a different process than updating the zoning ordinance, which is currently underway.

“The adoption of the Comprehensive Plan did not and cannot change the zoning district classification of any of the Plaintiff properties,” the response continues. 

The second motion to request identification argues that the plaintiffs have not given sufficient reason for why their identities should be protected. (motion to reveal ID)

“Upon information and beliefs, Plaintiffs wish to proceed anonymously to avoid potential embarrassment or public criticism for opposing increased residential density—and more types and units of housing affordable to low- and moderate-income persons—within their neighborhoods,” reads the second motion. 

The City Attorney’s office had no comment. The next step is for the matter to go before a judge for scheduling. 

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the April 12, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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