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Opponents of Waterfront Rezoning Ask High Court to Hear Their Appeal

April Burke, Marie Kux and Beth Gibney ask state's high court to take their case after Alexandria Circuit Court dismissed it.

Three citizens are asking the Virginia Supreme Court to reconsider the ’s .

The lawsuit requests that the circuit court overturn the city’s denial of a petition that would have required City Council to pass the waterfront plan by a supermajority.

"The Iron Ladies," as their supporters call them, are April Burke, Beth Gibney and Marie Kux.

The Circuit Court decided in March that “in order for the court to grant relief requested by the plaintiffs, it would first have to required the Director to accept the plaintiffs appeal as properly filed. ...The writ does not grant the authority to require an official to undo an act that is already done.”

Roy Shannon, the plaintiff’s attorney, told Patch Tuesday that he believes “the court may have erred there,” which is why the plaintiffs are asking the high court to consider their case.

City Planning and Zoning Director Faroll Hamer ruled the on the city's waterfront plan that the petition signed and submitted by the women and other parties was not valid.

If Hamer had accepted the petition, City Council would have had to pass the plan with a 6-1 vote. Council members voted 5-2 in favor of the plan on Jan. 21.

In addition to filing a case in the city’s Circuit Court, the women of the director’s decision with the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals. , siding with the three women and other citizens who asked that the waterfront area near their homes not be rezoned allowing more and different kinds of development such as hotels.

Shannon said he believes City Council should not have voted on the plan Jan. 21 because he filed the appeal at the time—a point of .

"In a procedure like this, the process is as important as the substance," Shannon told Patch this week.

City Attorney James Banks said the to the Board of Zoning Appeal’s decision to the Circuit Court. It has 30 calendar days from the board’s ruling April 13.           

NoBS May 02, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Where can I find an explanation of how and when a petition is properly filed? I'm trying to follow the twists and turns in this drama but I need to understand what the law is about filing a petition, what makes it valid or not, etc. I support some measure of waterfront development but I share the opponents' skepticism of city attorney James Banks. I'm reserving judgment on him for now.
JohnInNova May 03, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Can't you see it? The year is 1885, the news banner in the Alexandria Gazette reads: "Citizen Group petitions the Court asking to Block installation of Electrical Power Lines in the former Colonial Village" They are concerned that the overhead power lines will take away the ambience of the town. And, electric lighting is too harsh. They prefer the more authentic glow of candle light.

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