A summary of active lawsuits against Charlottesville City Council

Charlottesville City Council will go into a closed session today after their 4 p.m. work session. The topic is “legal consultation” and so I thought I would do some research into active cases in Charlottesville Circuit Court. This does not include federal lawsuits. Perhaps in the comments, you can leave some of the ones that are still open?

I lacked the ability on a Sunday morning to research how active ‘active’ is but it’s important to track what I can find on the Circuit Court portal. Only members of the Court can access legal documents remotely (except land use records and deeds).

Take a look at the Charlottesville Circuit Court portal
  • Samuel Hellman filed suit against City Council on July 21, 2016 challenging the approval process for the six-story building now constructed at 550 East Water Street. While listed as active, the last order was filed on April 3, 2017 for a “proposed order nonsuit.” For more background, read Tim Dodson’s July 6, 2016 story in Charlottesville Tomorrow. (CL16000319-00)
  • Members of the Little High Street neighborhood filed suit against Council on July 5, 2018 challenging approval of a special use permit for a 126-unit apartment building at the corner of 10th Street and East Jefferson Street. Council voted 3-2 on July 5, 2017 to approve the rezoning, as I reported at the time for Charlottesville TomorrowThe last action according to records is a plea in bar on August 2, 2018.  (CL18000368-00)
  • An anonymous group of city residents filed suit in December 2021 against Council for adoption of the Comprehensive Plan a month prior. Circuit Court Judge Claude Worrell dismissed three of the four counts late last August as I reported(CL21000610-00)
  • Hawes Spencer reported in the Daily Progress on March 4, 2023 that a new complaint in the above case was filed on February 13, 2023 been filed but had not yet been served. (CL23000080-00)
  • Trevillian Station Battlefield and the Ratcliffe Foundation filed an injunction against Council on December 22, 2021 for their award of a now-removed Confederate statue to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. The most recent report I can find is a February 13 Daily Progress article signaling a delay in the trial due to an illness. There appear to be many new documents in the case, but you have to go to the courthouse to actually look at them. (CL21000617-00)
  • Cabell Marshall of Stribling Avenue filed suit against Council on May 18, 2022 for the rezoning of 240 Stribling Avenue to make way for up to 170 apartment units, as I reported at the time. One of the arguments is that the public hearing was invalid because meetings were still remote. Recently, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that Fairfax County did not have the ability to adopt a new zoning code during an electronic meeting as I wrote about in late March.  A trial is scheduled for May 12, 2023 according to the Circuit Court records. (CL22000234-00)
  • Residents of Jefferson Park Avenue filed suit against Council on October 19, 2022 for the award of a special use permit for additional height and density at 2005 Jefferson Park Avenue a month earlier. Here’s my report. A hearing is scheduled for May 12, 2023 at 2 p.m. according to the Circuit Court records. (CL22000494-00)

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 17, 2023 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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