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Developer seeks jury trial in $14 million suit

by Tom Chillemi

Deltaville developer Gene A. Ruark’s $14 million lawsuit against Middlesex County claims the Middlesex Board of Supervisors’ failure to rezone his 630 acres from Low Density Rural to Residential amounts to “a taking of the property.”

Ruark’s lawsuit states he has been attempting without success to get the Hartfield property rezoned since 2004 for a 379-house development.

On September 2, 2008 the board of supervisors voted 3-2 to deny Ruark’s latest rezoning request. Voting against rezoning were Fred Crittenden, Kenneth W. Williams and Jack Miller. Voting in favor were Bob Crump and Wayne Jessie.

On October 2, Ruark filed his lawsuit in Middlesex Circuit Court through his attorney, John Walk of Hirschler and Fleischer of Richmond. The lawsuit asks for “a jury to hear and decide the issue of just compensation” that is due Ruark for the taking of his property.

The lawsuit also points out that on December 22, 2006 the Middlesex Board of Supervisors filed civil litigation against Ruark and VDOT alleging that Ruark had “responsibility to repair and maintain a portion of Stormont Road (State Route 629) which borders Healy’s Pond and Big Neck Farm,” which are owned by Ruark. (Route 629 crosses a pond dam that has washed out in storms. Also a drainage culvert on the dam failed to pass VDOT inspection in February 2006, and the road was closed.)

Ruark prevailed in the road case and the court “found that Mr. Ruark ‘has no duty to the Board [of Supervisors] to make any repairs,’ ” states his lawsuit.

Ruark’s lawsuit also alleges the board was “retaliating against Plaintiff (Ruark) for unrelated grievances.”

County attorney Mike Soberick said on Tuesday the county has until October 28 to file its response to Ruark’s lawsuit. He declined to make further comment on the pending litigation.

Read Ruark’s entire lawsuit—just click here.

posted 10.16.2008

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