Lawsuit filed against City of Charlottesville for rezoning of 240 Stribling

A person who lives on property on Stribling Avenue has filed suit against the Charlottesville City Council seeking declaratory judgment that the rezoning of 240 Stribling Avenue in April was illegal. (read the complaint)

“During the Planning Commission and Council meetings, the large amount of tax revenue to be gained from increasing the density was discussed as the primary reason for backing this ordinance,” reads paragraph eight of the suit, which was filed on May 18 and served to the city a day later. 

Read the complaint in full on cvillepedia

Charlottesville City Council approved the rezoning on April 18, which will allow up to 170 units on about 12 acres in the Fry’s Spring neighborhood. (read a story)

The plaintiff is Cabell Marshall, who is representing herself in the matter. The suit states that Marshall “occupies a house” across from 240 Stribling, but does not specify which one until the signature at the end of the document. Much of the complaint repeats testimony made by opponents of the project, such as increased exhaust fumes and additional traffic. 

The suit filed on May 18 also argues that an agreement between the city and Southern Development to pay for the upfront costs of upgrading Stribling Avenue is also invalid. 

“Many neighbors on Stribling Avenue felt overwhelmed by [Charlie Armstrong]’s seemingly unfair advantage in getting advance encouragement directly from the city,” reads paragraph 13. “Virginia Code Section 2.3-3103 prohibits a city employee or someone in an advisory agency from using for his own benefit or that another party confidential information that he has acquired by reason of his public position and which is not available to the public.” 

The complaint also argues that the public hearing was invalid because it was held while Council meetings were still remote. There’s also an argument the city has not done enough to upgrade city streets, such as the intersection of Stribling Avenue and Jefferson Park Avenue.

One of the first legal questions will be whether Marshall has legal standing to bring the suit forward. 

The owner of the house where she lives is John C. Marshall, who is not named as a part in the suit. He owns two other properties on Stribling Avenue as well as three other throughout city limits. 

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 May 21, 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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